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The Lessons of History


A short time ago, I acted as the narrator in a performance of Aaron Copland's moving piece "Lincoln Portrait." The words I read included those delivered by President Abraham Lincoln to the Congress on December 1, 1862, in the midst of the Civil War. The subject was slavery. Lincoln's famous speech concluded: "Fellow-citizens, we can not escape history." On this important occasion honoring the life and legacy of one of the great figures of our period, the late Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. let me say that my special friend and esteemed colleague also knew well the value of looking back to move forward.

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