In an area renowned for its history of progressive politics, Labour party associations and a ‘grit and determination’ spirit so typical of the working class Briton, it’s no surprise that Tyneside shares principled and ideological affiliations with one of America’s greatest presidents, Abraham Lincoln. Commemorating the 150th anniversary of the assassination of Lincoln, the mayor of Tyneside scripted a compelling letter perpetuating the legacy of the ‘Great Emancipator’. The letter resonates a message of great admiration towards “the towering figure in world history” whilst highlighting both ideological and physical links between Lincoln and Tyneside.
The ideological links are the principle ideas that characterize Tyneside. The Northeast were the first to send working class men to Parliament in 1885 and the second to erect a mosque in 1889. The presence of a campaign for progressive social and political change has also shaped the culture of the area. These ideas of equality and liberty are synonymous with the legacy left by Lincoln. The physical affiliation signifies a much more prominent link. Described in the letter, is the story of a soldier born in South Shields. William Hall served in the 12th Illinois cavalry during the Civil War, he allegedly carried the wounded body of Lincoln from Fords theatre to safety, returning to the Northeast to be buried in his hometown.
In actual honesty, most Tyneside’s would not be able to identify Hall or elucidate Lincoln’s political career, yet his lasting legacy is renowned throughout Tyneside and cemented by this letter.
< http://www.southtyneside.info/article/24883/Letters-to-America-to-Take-Pride-of-Place-in-International-Exhibition > accessed 10/12/2015, ‘The region has long been a hotbed of radical and progressive politics.’
.google.com/viewer?url=http://alplm-cdi.com/chroniclingillinois/files/original/59242c6ff80d52d11807a15a75caece5.pdf > accessed 15/02/2015