After a historic term as president of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Kathryn Harris is passing the gavel this week at the annual banquet and symposium celebrating Abraham Lincoln's 209th birthday anniversary.
Harris was the first African American and the first woman to be installed as the association's president. In an interview with Sean Crawford at the beginning of her term, Harris said she aimed to bring awareness to the group in a more diverse way because of the barriers broken. Two years later, she says that's still a priority.
"I think I have achieved that goal to a degree, but there's always work to be done in that area," says Harris. "One of the ways that I think we are achieving that goal is just from simply looking at the diversity of the banquet attendees."
Bob Willard will be taking over as President on February 13th. Willard is from the Los Angeles area and a life-long member of the association. Harris says Willard has studied and collected Lincoln materials for more than 50 years.
"Bob did a pilgrimage starting at his birth place in Kentucky," says Harris. "Four weeks and 1,000 miles later he ended his trek at the Lincoln tomb here in Springfield. He is more than a Lincoln lover like me. He's really into Mr. Lincoln."
This year's banquet will be held in the Lincoln Hotel with the reception beginning at 6 p.m on Monday, February 12th. Tickets for the banquet can be purchased here.