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Conversations of Consequence

(Sam Cameron) Permanent link

When I was in elementary school, anyone who wanted to sound particularly erudite might drop the line, “Four score and seven years ago…”. Much like the Scarecrow mis-stating the Pythagorean Theorem at the end of The Wizard of Oz, none of us knew what a “score” was and only the real smart-alecks knew this phrase was the beginning of the Gettysburg Address.

            The ten-sentence address, delivered four and a half months after the bloody battle at the dedication of a military cemetery, left an impact on American culture as enduring as the cannonballs still embedded in Fort Sumter's walls. Even elementary school kids can recite the opening lines. Running only two minutes, the Gettysburg Address is one of the shortest presidential speeches in history – and many of the 15,000 people who witnessed its delivery didn't even hear it! A photographer setting up his camera distracted many of the audience members, and they missed one of the most cherished moments in American history.

            Just because they missed out on a great moment, doesn’t mean you have to. Applications are currently being accepted for a non-credit seminar taught by our very own college president Dr. DeRionne Pollard. In the course, Conversations of Consequence: U.S. Presidential Speeches that Changed History, students will examine various U.S. Presidential speeches and discuss the impact of these speeches on American society and history.

We know that the delivery of the Gettysburg Address was less than a Braveheart moment, and left little immediate impact on the audience members cleaning their ears and murmuring in confusion as they watched their president leave the podium. In the time since then, however, the American public has taken cultural ownership of an incredibly brief speech delivered by a president so unpopular that seven states left the union in response to his election. Those ten sentences could have easily sunken into obscurity, but didn’t. Why? All this and more can be discussed with Dr. Pollard in this course!

As a culminating activity, students will take a fieldtrip to Washington, DC to see the inauguration of the next American president and witness history in the making. Space is limited for this unique opportunity to take a class with your college president. Applications are due July 31.

 Don’t be left scratching your head as historical events unfold around you. Apply now! 


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