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02/17/2017

Lincoln Expert in Demand for His Scholarship on Immigration

Quick Facts

 In January, Silverman was appointed to the editorial board of the premier Lincoln studies journal in the country, The Lincoln Herald.
 Silverman also played an important role in creating the new exhibit “Americans by Belief” at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C.

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Jason Silverman
ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA – One of Winthrop University’s senior faculty members, History Professor Jason Silverman, is finishing his career with continued accolades for his insights on Abraham Lincoln and the 16th president’s thoughts on immigration.

In January, Silverman was appointed to the editorial board of the premier Lincoln studies journal in the country, The Lincoln Herald. “Your own work in the field has made a significant contribution to understanding and interpreting the remarkable Abraham Lincoln and the tumultuous times during which he lived,” wrote B. James Dawson, president of Lincoln Memorial University.

In 2015, Silverman published the first scholarly book on Abraham Lincoln and immigrants. In his book, “Abraham Lincoln and the Immigrant,” Silverman examined Lincoln’s personal relationships with immigrants, his integration of the immigrant into his understanding of the Declaration of Independence, and his practical political handling of immigrant communities. The many reviews thus far in scholarly journals, newspapers and magazines alike all make note of the book's singular contribution to Lincoln literature.

Silverman played an important role in creating the new exhibit “Americans by Belief” at President Lincoln’s Cottage in Washington, D.C. The exhibit highlights Lincoln’s little-known immigration policies, as well as his broader vision of the role of immigrants and immigration in the country’s future. The president’s encounters with Jewish, Irish and German immigrants are recounted, as are immigrants’ roles in the Civil War. An important section of the exhibit uses Lincoln’s principles as a framework for viewing modern issues like the plight of child refugees from Central America, Muslim immigration and human trafficking.

Silverman has compiled other recent honors and speaking engagements due to his Lincoln scholarship:

• Named as chairman of the Scholarly Advisory Board and ex officio member of the Board of Trustees of President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers’ Home National Monument in D.C.

• Invited to speak on Lincoln and Mexico at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., on March 16 and again the following week at the Southeastern Conference on Latin American Studies which will meet in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on March 23.

• Included among four experts to speak at the Abraham Lincoln Institute Symposium and Ford’s Theatre Society on Saturday, March 18, on “I am not a Know Nothing … How can I be?”: Abraham Lincoln’s Life-long Relationship with Immigrants.” "To be able to speak on the stage at Ford's Theatre and look up at the Presidential Balcony where Lincoln spent his last few hours is an incredibly exciting and humbling opportunity," Silverman said.

• Presented the Immigrants’ Civil War Award by Hofstra University's Long Island Wins, which is a nonprofit communications organization that focuses on immigration issues on Long Island and beyond. The award is given every year to an academic, author, public historian, scholar or artist who has contributed to our understanding of the lives of immigrants during the Civil War Era.

He joined the Winthrop faculty in 1984 and will retire in December after 33.5 years at Winthrop.

In 2010, Silverman was named the inaugural recipient of the Ellison Capers Palmer Jr. Professorship, which gave him resources to complete his Lincoln research. He also is the author, coauthor or coeditor of 10 books, including “Immigration in the American South,” “1864–1895: A Documentary History of the Southern Immigration Conventions” and “A Rising Star of Promise: The Civil War Odyssey of David Jackson Logan, 17th South Carolina Infantry, 1861–1864.”

For more information, contact Judy Longshaw, news and media services manager, at 803/323-2404 or e-mail her at longshawj@winthrop.edu.

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