Ken Burns Challenges Students to Learn Lincoln's Most Famous Speech in New Documentary

Press Release

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 8:00pm

The Address, a new film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, will air April 15 on KUED at 8:00 pm. The film tells the story of a tiny school in Putney, Vermon, the Greenwood School, where each year students are encouraged to memorize, practices, and recite the Gettysburg Address. In its exploration of the Greenwood School, the film also unlocks the history, context, and importance of President Lincoln’s most powerful address.

The Greenwood School students, boys ages 11-17, all face a range of complex learning differences that make their personal, academic, and social progress challenging. The Address reveals how President Lincoln’s historic words motivate and engage these students a century-and-a-half after Lincoln delivered a speech that would go on to embolden the Union cause with some of the most stirring words ever spoken.

In November 2013, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary and in conjunction with the film, Burns and PBS launched, an initiative that invites people to upload videos of themselves reciting the Gettysburg Address to the project’s web site. To date, the site has accepted thousands of submissions from people across the country. 

Directly following the premier of The Address, KUED will broadcast Lincoln at Gettysburg. 


Lincoln at Gettysburg​, Tuesday, April 15 at 9:30 PM.

In 1863, Abraham Lincoln proved himself a master of a new frontier — not on the battlefields of the Civil War, but in his high-tech command center: the War Department Telegraph Office. The internet of the 19th century, the telegraph gave Lincoln new powers to reshape leadership and wield personal control across distant battlefields. It also connected him to the country in new ways, as information poured in, and allowed him to feel the pulse of the country faster than before. The results of Lincoln’s pioneering experiment in communication led to the rebirth of America on the fields of Gettysburg … both in the battle that turned the tide of the Civil War and in the few words that recast the American ideal as a national creed: the Gettysburg Address. David Strathairn (Lincoln) narrates.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 12:11pm

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