Lincoln’s Unfinished Work

“Lincoln’s Unfinished Work” is an international conference featuring more than 30 renowned historians that will take place November 28 – December 1 at Clemson University. The conference will include panel presentations, plenary sessions, tours of the Clemson campus, several accompanying exhibits, and workshops with continuing education credits for teachers. SC Humanities helped support this program with a Major Grant.

Organized by Clemson professor Vernon Burton, the conference will examine the “unfinished work” of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency as a springboard for exploring the political and social reconstruction in the United States from 1865 to the present day. Topics will include the history of race relations and other important issues in American democracy. The opening session will feature historian Eric Foner and legal scholar Randall Kennedy starting at 5 p.m. on November 28 in Tillman Hall Auditorium. The rest of the sessions will be held in the Watt Family Innovation Center. “Lincoln’s Unfinished Work” is free and open to the public.

After a Saturday luncheon and keynote, sociologist James Loewen, historian Vernon Burton, and public school teacher Paul Harleston will lead a workshop for public school teachers, including those with SC Rural Social Action Team, on teaching about the history of race relations.

The full conference schedule is available on the website:

Additional sponsors include the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation; the Thomas Watson Brown Foundation; the Ford Foundation; and, at Clemson University, the Division of Inclusion and Equity; the Watt Family Innovation Center; the Humanities Hub and the department of history.

The mission of SC Humanities is to enrich the cultural and intellectual lives of all South Carolinians. Established in 1973, this 501(c) 3 organization is governed by a volunteer 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders from throughout the state.  It presents and/or supports literary initiatives, lectures, exhibits, festivals, publications, oral history projects, videos and other humanities-based experiences that directly or indirectly reach more than 250,000 citizens annually.

Image: President Lincoln (center right) with, from left, Generals Sherman and Grant and Admiral Porter in The Peacemakers, an 1868 painting of events aboard the River Queen in March 1865