The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: What do you think about Abraham Lincoln and the statue of him on the UW-Madison campus? | June 28, 2020

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By Jacob Stockinger

The proposal, discussion and controversy have become local, regional, national and international news.

What do you think about Abraham Lincoln?

And what do you think should be done about the statue of him (below, in a photo by Getty Images) on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus? Should it go? Or should it stay? Why?

Leave a comment below.

While you consider those questions, perhaps you will find it worth listening to James Earl Jones (below) narrate “A Lincoln Portrait” by the American composer Aaron Copland.It is played by the Seattle Symphony Orchestra under conductor Gerard Schwarz in the excerpt below that was recently posted by Kathleen Zorko — “with hope” — on YouTube.



  1. I have been a Civil War buff for 65 or 70 years. For the past dozen I have been teaching a Civil War course for PLATO that has a number of long term students: 4-5 years or more. The Civil War was large and diverse enough you can do this without covering the same ground over and over.

    Yes, Abraham Lincoln was a racist, along with everyone else in his day – as is everyone in our day according to most of the authorities I read. I support Black Lives Matter and the protests that go with it, but not the vandalism and violence that a tiny minority has introduced into it. I support the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials that are abhorrent to many, and rightfully so, since they honor people who tried to destroy the Union and make a perpetual slave “republic”.

    Is anyone “perfect” on the cause of justice for the black and colored minorities in America? Should we disregard the contributions of those who are not “perfect” with regards to blacks and racism? Should we judge people, not by the standards of their time, but by those of a small minority of our time who seem to demand perfection on that score? Doing so would blot out the contributions, sometimes immense, of people who transcended their time and racism.

    Abraham Lincoln did more than anyone else in America, and perhaps the world, to destroy black slavery, and he succeeded. He supported giving them legal rights that would protect them, he believed. Unfortunately the Jim Crow south found ways around them, abetted by a complacent northern populace and the court system. Still, no one should underestimate the effort and the accomplishment of Lincoln. Students of history know this was the most difficult, dangerous, and trying time in our life as a nation. No one can tell what our country would be like if Lincoln had not been assassinated by a Southern fanatic but we can be certain it would be better than what his successors bequeathed us.

    No one has more to be thankful to Lincoln for than our black citizens and their allies. Should we blot out the knowledge of this by destroying or hiding monuments and memorials to him? Should we disparage the Emancipation Proclamation because it did not set all (or any) blacks free at once, ignoring the immense potential it had? I believe that the Blacks who hold these viewpoints do not understand history. If Lincoln had at that time proclaimed immediate freedom for all slaves enough northerners would have denounced and deserted him that he would have been without political support. The “Confederate States of America” would likely have become an independent reality, and there would have possibly been legal slavery in America still as I write.

    Is the fact that this is not so, due mostly to Lincoln, not worth celebrating and holding in our memory, including by statutes and monuments? I firmly oppose removing the Lincoln Statue from Bascom Hill and others where-ever they exist around the world.

    Daryl Sherman 3106 Gregory Madison

    On Sun, Jun 28, 2020 at 12:01 AM The Well-Tempered Ear wrote:

    > welltemperedear posted: “PLEASE HELP THE EAR. IF YOU LIKE A CERTAIN BLOG > POST, SPREAD THE WORD. FORWARD A LINK TO IT OR, SHARE IT or TAG IT (not > just “Like” it) ON FACEBOOK. Performers can use the extra exposure to draw > potential audience members to an event. And you might even a” >


    Comment by Daryl Sherman — June 30, 2020 @ 12:35 pm

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