Roger Lane is considered a veteran of the Commonwealth Speaker program. For years, he has represented the PHC by traveling to organizations all over the state to talk about various history-related topics such as the presidency of FDR and the struggles of everyday life in the 1900s. His current topic, "Abraham Lincoln and the Paradox of Greatness," explores Lincoln's claim on posterity, which rests not just on his victory in the Civil War, but also on the unique combination of Lincoln's personal qualities, his historical context and the American imagination. In this presentation, Roger discusses how Lincoln became one of America’s best known and most honored leaders despite the fact that he was unknown and relatively inexperienced when he ran for president. Roger points out that he chose this topic because it is timely. As the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War continues this year, topics relating to this tumultuous time in history continue to be popular.
"One hundred and fifty years after the Civil War," Roger says. "Lincoln is still - and always - relevant."
Roger, a retired Professor of Social Sciences at Haverford College, was once named a "Top Ten Prof" by Philadelphia Magazine. Despite his love of teaching, he admits he enjoys being a speaker because it is often different from being in the classroom.
"What I like best about being a speaker is the audience. Professional historians usually talk either to college students or fellow scholars, but the audiences who come to my Commonwealth Speakers programs are intelligent and well-informed. They bring a wider range of life experiences with them."
Being a speaker has taken Roger to many organizations in many communities - and the audiences' enthusiasm for the topic is always inspiring. "I enjoy speaking to varied groups," Roger says. "Especially those who ask good, and sometimes unexpected, questions.”
Judging from his popularity, they enjoy speaking with him too.
Eligible non-profits can apply to bring Roger to their organization by filling out a Commonwealth Speaker application. Visit our website to learn more about the program, view our requirements and download an application.
About the Commonwealth Speakers Program:
For more than twenty years, the Speakers program has contracted educators and scholars from around the state to provide quality presentations on a variety of topics including music, folk and traditional arts, and American history. The 2012-13 roster offers presentations on these topics and much more. Organizations interested in celebrating the Civil War Sesquicentennial should take note of the talks offered in the Civil War Era, African American Experience, Pennsylvania History and Culture and Women through History categories. Presentations on general history topics are available as well.
Many of our Humanities on the Road episodes have explored the Civil War. To learn more, check out the links below: