Lincoln makes mock appearance in city

Published 12:22 am Sunday, April 13, 2014

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When Vicksburg native Johnathan Chow’s girlfriend told him about the Lincoln Presenters coming to Vicksburg, he had to see what the hype was about. When the show ended, he was pleased with the results.

“This is really interesting. I like how the presenters dress up like their character and talk about a very important part of Southern and American history,” said Chow.

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Chow was among a few spectators at the Southern Cultural Heritage Center on Saturday to learn a brief history lesson from the Association of Lincoln Presenters, an organization that travels the country once a year and shares their knowledge of Abraham Lincoln while dressed in 19th century clothing. This was the groups first time traveling to Mississippi. The group put on a mock discussion about reconstruction after the Civil War and the freeing of slaves.

Organizer Norman Zucker said his group was able to come to the South to display a significant part of history.

“I wanted our group to come here because I thought it was really important for us to spread knowledge about what occurred during the Civil War,” said Zucker.

Kentucky native Michael Crutcher, who played Frederick Douglass, was excited to express the views of one of the leading African-American pioneers.

“I love this because it is a challenge. I love when people say things that are illogical because that gives me an opportunity to counter punch. I don’t back down because Mr. Douglass never backed down,” said Crutcher.

Crutcher believes that the group can enlighten kids who don’t know much about history.

“This is educational. I think that this is my calling to portray this character so that I can instill this in our young people’s minds. Often times, they are left behind when it comes to things like this.”

Jefferson Davis, presenter and California native Robert Broski, was honored to be the contrarian of the group.

“We needed to show everyone that everyone did not feel the same way on certain issues. My job was to challenge everything that they were saying to see if they really believed what they were saying,” said Broski.

Kentucky native John Mansfield took the stage as Abraham Lincoln and displayed the personality of the former president.

“This showed the love that President Lincoln possessed. I think that Lincoln expressed true love and service to his country. He showed bravery in his views on freeing the slaves, which was not popular at that time. He advanced himself by advancing others,” said Mansfield.

“I ask young people how much of a slave do they want to be. The more education they have, the more control they will have over their lives and what they want to be. I tell them to get an education so that they can be successful.”

Florida native Chester Danron, who expressed the views of Gen. Robert E. Lee for the first time in his 39-year tenure as a presenter, was appreciative of being able to participate.

“I am thankful that we had this opportunity to talk to this group. Since I’ve been on this journey, I have learned so much that I didn’t know before I started. I had a really good time,” said Danron.