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U.S. set to mark 150 years since Lincoln assassination

Sunday, April 12, 2015 - 02:02

Americans reflect on the legacy of former President Abraham Lincoln shot dead 150 years ago this week. Vanessa Johnston reports.

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It's been 150 years since U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre. But in the nation's capital, his spirit is still alive and well. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST ARIELLE BENJAMIN SAYING: "I think he was an amazing president." (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST NATHAN WALDRON SAYING: "I think it's cool he wrote the Gettysburg Address." As Lincoln impersonators hit the party circuit, new exhibitions remember the night Lincoln was shot by actor John Wilkes Booth, as he watched a performance in the presidential box. Artifacts -- from Booth's Deringer pistol to Lincoln's top hat, are now on display, as well as a pair of broken spectacles that Lincoln had fastened with string -- a favorite of curator Tracey Avant. (SOUNDBITE) (English) EXHIBITION CURATOR, TRACEY AVANT, SAYING: "To me there's something so human about that -- there's something so human and down-to-earth about that. And I think we think about Lincoln that way, but that's just sort of proof positive of how humble he remained even through his presidency." Over at the Newseum, seven editions of the New York Herald reveal how news of the shooting unfolded. It wasn't until the third report -- put out the next day-- that Lincoln was declared dead. According to Lou Masur, author of "Lincoln's Last Speech", Booth had one crucial issue with the president. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUTHOR OF "LINCOLN'S LAST SPEECH", LOUIS MASUR, SAYING: "The triggering mechanism for Booth was Lincoln publicly declaring in his final speech on April 11 of the need to consider limited black suffrage. The idea of giving the vote to the freedmen was about as controversial an issue as you could have after the civil war. The slaves had just been emancipated and people said -- we're going to give them the vote?" So, what would Lincoln make of today's Washington? (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURIST BRITTANY JORDAN SAYING: "I think he would be proud just how far we've come. You know, between Dr. King and between all the other civil rights activists. I think he would be very proud that we have come this far -- and now our president of the United States." On Tuesday, Ford's Theatre will commemorate the 150 year anniversary of Lincoln's assassination with a candlelight vigil, followed by a Day of Remembrance on April 15th.

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U.S. set to mark 150 years since Lincoln assassination

Sunday, April 12, 2015 - 02:02