Collage of faces

Oral history interviews

Notable Americans share inspirational stories

Lincoln's Legacy shares motivational stories to inspire the hopes and dreams of children and young adults in America today.

This oral history project, sponsored by Lincoln Financial Group, explores how the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, both major achievements of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, helped secure the freedom and opportunity that Americans enjoy today.

We recorded interviews with influential people to help make the connection between the history of freedom, opportunity and equality in America — and the promise that Lincoln's Legacy still holds today.

We want to motivate young people with powerful words and inspirational stories. We’ve also developed an educational curriculum around these stories and plan to distribute it for free to schools and community centers across the country.

  • Andrew Young
    Civil Rights

    Andrew Young reflects on the continued struggle for civil rights, beginning with the actions of President Lincoln.

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  • Annette Lantos
    Human Rights

    Annette Lantos, holocaust survivor and chairman of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, discusses her experience in Hungary with granddaughter Sunday Swett.

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  • Ari Fleischer
    Civil Rights

    Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer discusses how family history and patriotism influenced his career decisions and family life.

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  • Bernard Watson
    Civil Rights

    Dr. Bernard Watson, the chairman of the board of trustees of the Barnes Foundation, reflects on growing up during segregation.

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  • Boyle Brothers
    Patriotism

    Former U.S. Marines and brothers Chuck, Dan and Ish Boyle reflect on their parents' sacrifices and the opportunities it has allowed them.

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  • Brian Dawkins
    Inspiration

    Former NFL safety Brian Dawkins shares the significance of Abraham Lincoln's legacy, and how it enabled him to achieve success.

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  • Carolyn Kuan
    Inspiration

    Carolyn Kuan shares her journey and the obstacles she faced moving to the U.S. at the age of 14 with her students.

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  • Dikembe Mutombo
    Inspiration

    Dikembe Mutombo reflects on the challenges of growing up in a Congolese society with little opportunities, and how his move to the U.S. changed his life.

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  • Dorothy Kittaka
    Arts and Culture

    Dorothy Kittaka, co-founder of FAME (Foundation for Art and Music in Elementary Education), discusses the impact of the arts on her life.

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  • Doug Conant
    Inspiration

    Former President and CEO of Campbell Soup Doug Conant explains the power of a “How can I help you?” attitude in life and in business.

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  • Fernando Aguirre
    Arts and Culture

    Former Chiquita Brands International Chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre shares the adversity and advantages of being bicultural in business and society today.

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  • Filomena DeSimone
    Patriotism

    Filomena Desimone, who immigrated to the U.S. from Italy during wartime as a teenager, discusses the opportunities her children have had growing up in America.

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  • Frank McCain
    Civil Rights

    Dr. Franklin McCain, one of the Greensboro Four, passed away on January 9, 2014. He shares his oral history as part of our Lincoln’s Legacy Initiative.

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  • Harold Martin
    Civil Rights

    Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr., Chancellor at NC A&T State University, reflects on racial inequality and the freedoms we’re still fighting for today.

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  • Harry Sky
    Human Rights

    Rabbi Harry Sky shares his inspiring encounters with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his experiences with concentration camp survivors.

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  • Henry Frye
    Civil Rights

    Justice Henry Frye, the first African American on the Supreme Court of North Carolina, shares how civil rights progress was achieved both inside and outside of the courtroom.

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  • Isaiah Tidwell
    Patriotism

    Isaiah Tidwell discusses Lincoln's impact on society, and what he wants his granddaughter to know about freedom and opportunity.

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  • Jack Brewer
    Inspiration

    NFL retiree Jack Brewer reflects on the tension and inequality he encountered playing high school football and how it motivated him to succeed as a safety in the NFL.

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  • John Lewis
    Civil Rights

    Georgia Congressman, the Honorable John Lewis, discusses what inspired him to join the Civil Rights Movement.

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  • Julian Bond
    Inspiration

    Civil Rights Activist Julian Bond shares his experiences defending civil equality and attending classes led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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  • Kelly Ayotte
    Human Rights

    New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte discusses the impact Lincoln has had on her children, her career and women's rights.

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  • Mike Richter
    Inspiration

    Former NHL goaltender, Mike Richter reflects on how the values of freedom and opportunity have played a major role in sports.

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  • Patrick Burke
    Inspiration

    Patrick Burke, the director of player safety for the NHL, believes working hard can leave a positive legacy for the next generation.

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  • Pedro Segarra
    Inspiration

    Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra discusses the importance of learning as a way to create opportunities for yourself.

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  • Rashard Jones
    Inspiration

    Rashard Jones, project director of the African American Male Mentoring Program, shares the importance of mentorship with one of his mentees.

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  • Scott O'Neil
    Inspiration

    Scott O’Neil, CEO of the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Devils, reveals on how education enabled him to turn a challenging childhood into a successful future.

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  • Shirley Franklin
    Inspiration

    Former Mayor of Atlanta, the Honorable Shirley Franklin, discusses her journey and what some of her inspirations were growing up.

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  • Shirley Frye
    Inspiration

    Shirley Frye, an elementary school teacher and higher education leader, reflects on her career as a young woman in Greensboro, N.C.

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  • Trini Urtuzuastegui Melcher
    Inspiration

    Dr. Trini Urtuzuastegui Melcher shares her journey from the 11th child of immigrant parents to becoming the first Hispanic woman to earn a PhD in accounting.

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