Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation at 160

To commemorate the 160th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, Carthage College hosted a two-day symposium where prominent scholars spoke of the far-reaching legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

This event was hosted in partnership with The Lincoln Forum, one of the nation’s most robust history organizations.

Watch videos from the event

See photos from the event

Meet the Speakers

Edna Greene Medford, keynote speaker at the Lincoln Symposium Edna Greene Medford, Ph.D., is a former Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs and Professor of History Emerita at Howard University. The Virginia native is a graduate of Hampton Institute, where she received a B.S. degree in Secondary Education with a history emphasis. She received a Master of Arts and Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and the University of Maryland College Park, respectively. She was a faculty member at Howard for almost 35 years before retiring in December 2021.

During her time at Howard, Dr. Medford served as both Undergraduate and Graduate Director and Chair of the Department of History. She was Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences between 2018 and 2019 and Associate Provost from 2019 to 2021. As a scholar-administrator, she continued to publish and share her scholarship with general audiences through media appearances and invited talks before national organizations, government agencies, and community-based groups. Her research focuses on American slavery, the Lincoln presidency, the Civil War, Emancipation, and Reconstruction. She has authored, co-authored, or edited three books and nearly two dozen refereed articles and book chapters. Her research has appeared in both national and international journals. Her most recent book, Lincoln and Emancipation, is in its second printing.

Dr. Medford is the recipient of several honors and awards, including the 2009 special bicentennial “Order of Lincoln,” from the state of Illinois; the College of Liberal Arts Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Illinois at Urbana (2013), the Lincoln Diploma of Honor, awarded by Lincoln Memorial University (2014); the Lincoln Legacy Award from the Lincoln Society of Peekskill, New York (2017); and the Howard University Distinguished Faculty Award (2021). She was a recipient of a Special Recognition Award in 2021 from The Lincoln Forum and was honored by the creation of a scholarship in her name for students who wish to attend the Forum’s annual symposium.

Over the last several years, Dr. Medford has served on several national boards, including the Executive Council of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the Executive Committee of The Lincoln Forum, the Board of Trustees (Scholar Trustee) of the New York Historical Society, the Abraham Lincoln Institute, and the Advisory Council for Ford’s Theatre Education Committee.

Jonathon White, a panelist at the Lincoln Symposium Jonathan W. White is a professor of American studies at Christopher Newport University. He is the author or editor of 13 books that cover a variety of topics, including civil liberties during the Civil War, the USS Monitor and the Battle of Hampton Roads, the presidential election of 1864, and what soldiers dreamt about. He serves as vice chair of The Lincoln Forum and on the Ford’s Theatre Advisory Council, and in 2019 he won the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s Outstanding Faculty Award — the highest honor bestowed upon college faculty by the Commonwealth of Virginia. His most recent books are “To Address You As My Friend: African Americans’ Letters to Abraham Lincoln,” which was published by UNC Press in 2021, and “A House Built By Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House,” which was published by Rowman and Littlefield on Lincoln’s birthday this year.

Steven Rogstad, a speaker at the Lincoln Symposium event Steven Rogstad was born and resides in Racine, Wisconsin. He received his bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Mr. Rogstad is the Executive Director for the Sheboygan County Historical Research Center in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.

Mr. Rogstad’s has had a long tenure in the study of Abraham Lincoln. For 30 years he has taught seminars and courses on Lincoln-related topics at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Carroll College, and Kenosha Civil War Museum. He is Secretary for the Lincoln Fellowship of Wisconsin and as is then former Review Editor of the Lincoln Herald, published by Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee. In 1997 he established the Lincoln Monument Restoration Project, which coordinated the restoration of the Abraham Lincoln statue on State Street in Racine. He has delivered dedicatory addresses for the Abraham Lincoln/Mary Todd Monument in Racine’s East Park (1993), and the Lincoln Monument in Burlington (2014). In 2009, Mr. Rogstad’s “Lincoln Moments” were broadcast daily in Wisconsin as part of the national Lincoln Bicentennial celebration.

Mr. Rogstad is the author of Lincoln Among the Badgers: Rediscovering Sites Associated with Abraham and Mary Lincoln in Wisconsin (2020). He has written numerous reviews and articles related to his own Lincoln research. He wrote introductions to The Gettysburg Soldiers’ Cemetery and Lincoln’s Address by Frank L. Klement (1993) and The Limits of Dissent: Clement L. Vallandigham and the Civil War by Frank L. Klement (1998). He was co-editor for The Many Faces of Lincoln (1997) and edited/ introduced Lincoln’s Critics: The Copperheads of the North by Frank L. Klement (1999). He is the author of Companionship in Granite: Celebrating the Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln Monument (1998) and Racine’s Lincoln Legends: Laying Three Myths to Rest (2014).

In April 2008 Mr. Rogstad was appointed by Governor James Doyle to the Wisconsin Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, serving as Secretary and as a member of the Markers & Memorials Committee.

Harold Holzer, a panelist at the Lincoln Symposium Harold Holzer is the Jonathan F. Fanton Director of The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York, a post he assumed in 2015 after 23 years as Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (He was the NYC Comptroller’s representative on the Met Board from 2015 to 2021.)

An award-winning historian, Holzer served for six years (2010-16) as Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation; for the previous 10, he was co-chair of the U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, appointed by President Bill Clinton. In 2008, Holzer was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President George W. Bush. In 2013 he wrote the Lincoln essay for the official program for the re-inauguration of President Barack Obama.

Holzer is the author, co-author, or editor of 55 books on Lincoln, the Civil War, and the history of the American media. His “Lincoln and the Power of the Press” won the 2015 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize from the Columbia University School of Journalism, and the Goldsmith Prize from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School. His latest book is “The Presidents vs. the Press: The Endless Battle Between the White House and the Media, From the Founding Fathers to Fake News” (2020).

Holzer’s 2012 “Lincoln: How Abraham Lincoln Ended Slavery in America” was the official young-adult companion book for the Steven Spielberg film “Lincoln,” for which Holzer served as the official script consultant. He also served for three years as the Roger Hertog Fellow at the New York Historical Society. Holzer was awarded the NY State Archives & History Award in 2017, served that spring as Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Yeshiva University, and in 2020 taught at the Cardozo School of Law.

Holzer ( has written more than 650 articles in scholarly journals, newspapers, online sites, and popular magazines, published 15 monographs, and contributed chapters or prefaces to more than 50 additional volumes. Among his other awards are a second-place Lincoln Prize in 2005 for Lincoln at Cooper Union and book prizes from the Manuscript Society of America, the Civil War Round Table of New York, the New England Society, and the Illinois State Historical Society, along with lifetime achievement awards from the Lincoln Groups of New York, Washington, Peekskill, Kansas City, and Detroit; as well as honorary degrees from nine colleges.

Holzer, a member of many history boards and advisory committees, serves as chairman (and co-founder) of The Lincoln Forum, a national organization with 1,000 members.

Holzer also lectures and produces Lincoln programming throughout the nation. One performance piece, “Lincoln Seen and Heard,” featuring actor Sam Waterston, was staged at the White House (where it was telecast live), and at the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library, the Library of Congress, and Ford’s Theatre. Holzer appears often on C-SPAN and the History Channel, serves as on-air commentator on CBS, PBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN, Fox, NPR, and the BBC, and has created and performed on-stage Lincoln programs with actors Stephen Lang, Richard Dreyfuss, Norm Lewis, F. Murray Abraham, Annette Benning, Kathleen Chalfant, Holly Hunter, Liam Neeson, Chris Noth, Rufus Collins, Dianne Wiest, and the late Fritz Weaver. He was also historical advisor and on-camera commentator for CNN’s Emmy Award-winning 2021 series, Lincoln: Divided We Stand, and appeared in the 2022 Lincoln documentary series Abraham Lincoln for the History Channel.

Before joining the Met Museum in 1992, Holzer spent his early career as a journalist (editor of the Manhattan Tribune); a Congressional and campaign press secretary for Rep. Bella S. Abzug; a public affairs specialist for New York Governor Mario M. Cuomo (with whom he co-authored two Lincoln books); and as spokesman for New York’s PBS station, WNET-TV. He and his wife Edith have two daughters and two grandsons.

Craig Symonds, a speaker at the Lincoln Symposium Craig L. Symonds is Professor Emeritus of History at the U.S. Naval Academy, where he taught for thirty years and served as department chair. From 2017 to 2020, he was the Ernest J. King Professor at the U.S. Naval War College. He is the author of seventeen books, including “Decision at Sea” (2005), “Lincoln and His Admirals” (2008), “The Battle of Midway” (2011), “Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings” (2014), and “World War II at Sea” (2018) all with Oxford University Press. His newest book is “Nimitz at War” released in 2022.

The Lincoln Forum logo The Carthage College Lincoln Symposium is co-sponsored by The Lincoln Forum