Former Secretary of Agriculture and U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns will headline a panel presentation at Homestead National Monument on President Abraham Lincolnís legacies of the signing the Homestead and Morrill Acts and establishing the U.S. Agriculture Department in 1862.
The May 20 event coincides with the 150th anniversary of the day Lincoln signed the Homestead Act. The act made 160 acres of free land available to settlers. The Morrill Act created the land-grant college system that led to the establishment of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
In addition to Johanns, panelists include, John Owens, vice chancellor emeritus at UNL on the Morrill Act; and Mark Engler, Homestead National Monument superintendent on the Homestead Act.
Kenneth Winkle, a Lincoln scholar and UNL historian, will moderate and introduce Lincolnís role in getting the legislation passed.
The forum begins at 4 p.m. at the monumentís Education Center. At 6 p.m., Gov. Dave Heineman will join the monumentís commemoration of the Homestead Act at the Heritage Center.
The program will include presentations and a performance by the Brass in Blue ensemble of the Heartland of America Band from Offutt Air Force Base, followed by a laser light show.
Other events include the Nebraska Humanities Councilís chautauqua May 21-25.
The Homestead Act, on loan from the National Archives, is on display at the monument through May 28. All events are free.
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