by Angela Taldone ’15
On Feb. 19, Dr. Steve Longenecker spoke to BC students, community members, faculty and staff in the Carter Center for Worship and Music.
Dr. Longenecker is a professor of history at Bridgewater College and author of six books, including Gettysburg Religion: Refinement, Diversity, and Race in the Antebellum and Civil War Border North, the topic of his recent lecture.
Throughout his lecture, Dr. Longenecker elaborated on the significance of Gettysburg through the main themes of his book: refinement, diversity and race. Furthermore, he said, “the Border North mirrored national development and signaled America’s future.”
Refinement was “apparent in Gettysburg and the Bordered North,” Dr. Longenecker explained. This involved a “quest for self improvement,” but it came at a high price. In regard to diversity, Gettysburg Religion addresses Gettysburg’s diverse community from German immigrants practicing Lutheranism to French Catholics, all of whom “worshiped in peace,” Dr. Longenecker said.
Race was another subject addressed in Dr. Longenecker’s book and lecture. Gettysburg and the surrounding area consisted of both racists and abolitionists but were still significantly ahead of the rest of America when it came to acceptance of African Americans.
Dr. Longenecker emphasized throughout his lecture that Gettysburg “represented the America that was yet to come.” Concluding his lecture, he reiterated the importance of Gettysburg during the Civil War era, describing Gettysburg as “not bad for some little town in Pennsylvania.”
This convocation featuring Dr. Steve Longenecker was sponsored by the Anna B. Mow Lecture Series, a series that honors Dr. Mow as a teacher who walked with her students, a scholar whose life was a pursuit of knowledge, an author who conversed with her readers and a Christian whose love of her Lord enabled her to be accepting of all children of God.