Posted 07 Apr 2014
"THE ADDRESS," a new film from award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, will premiere Tuesday, April 15, at 8 p.m. on the Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN). The film tells the story of a tiny school in Putney, Vt. – the Greenwood School – where each year the students are encouraged to memorize, practice and recite the Gettysburg Address. In its exploration of the Greenwood School, the film also unlocks the history, context and importance of President Lincoln's most powerful address.
The Greenwood School students, boys ages 11-17, all face a range of complex learning differences that make their personal, academic and social progress challenging. "The Address" reveals how Lincoln's historic words motivate and engage these students a century-and-a-half after Lincoln delivered a speech that would go on to embolden the Union cause with some of the most stirring words ever spoken.
In November 2013, on the occasion of the 150th anniversary and in conjunction with the film, Burns and PBS launched LearnTheAddress.org, an initiative that invites people to upload videos of themselves reciting the Gettysburg Address to the project's web site. To date, the site has accepted thousands of submissions from people across the country. The campaign uses social media and videos from public figures, political leaders, entertainers and Lincoln historians reading the Gettysburg Address to encourage people to submit their own videos. AETN is encouraging Arkansans to participate by uploading their version of the address at aetn.org/learntheaddress.
Arkansas submissions include: Gov. Mike Beebe, Arkansas legislators, students from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Arkansas, Boy Scouts, teachers, history enthusiasts and other. Also submitting videos are: Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barak Obama; House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi; Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Senators Marco Rubio, Charles Schumer and Jay Rockefeller; former Governors Charlie Crist, Mario Cuomo and Jim Gilmore; Cardinal Timothy Dolan; Rabbi Peter Rubinstein; Wolf Blitzer; Warren Buffet; Carol Burnett; Louis CK; Stephen Colbert; Bill Gates; Whoopi Goldberg; David Gregory; Arianna Huffington; Gwen Ifill; Jimmy Kimmel; Vicky Lawrence; Rachel Maddow; Alyssa Milano; Rita Moreno; Conan O'Brien; Bill O'Reilly; Robin Roberts; Jerry Seinfeld; Bob Schieffer; Steven Spielberg; Martha Stewart; Taylor Swift; Uma Thurman; Nina Totenberg; Usher; Shane Victorino and many others.
A standards-based education curriculum has been developed to help students understand why the Gettysburg Address is regarded as one of the finest political speeches of all time. Also included are tips and strategies for memorization. The lesson plans and activities will be available to all schools around the country through the film's companion website pbs.org/theaddress. Educators can also access these resources through AETN PBS Learning Media and at aetn.org/educators.
This fall, PBS will air another new series from Burns, "The Roosevelts: An Intimate History." The seven-part, 14-hour series presents the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, and is the first to weave their individual stories into a single narrative.
"The Address" is a production of Florentine Films and WETA Washington, D.C., and is directed by Ken Burns. Funding for "The Address" is provided by Bank of America; the Anne Ray Charitable Trust; PBS; and members of The Better Angels Society, including The Pfeil Foundation and Robert & Beverly Grappone. Funding was also provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), as part of "American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen," a public media initiative to help communities solve the national high school dropout crisis and keep more students on a successful path to college and career.
PBS, with its over 350 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches nearly 120 million people through television and over 29 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS' broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry's most coveted award competitions. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet.
The Arkansas Educational Television Network (AETN) is Arkansas's statewide public television network that enhances lives by providing lifelong learning opportunities for people from all walks of life. AETN delivers local, award-winning productions and classic, trusted PBS programs aimed at sharing Arkansas and the world with viewers. AETN depends on the generosity of Arkansans and the State of Arkansas to continue offering quality programming. For more information, visit aetn.org, or follow the AETN blog at aetn.org/engage. AETN is broadcast on KETS (Little Rock), KEMV (Mountain View), KETG (Arkadelphia), KAFT (Fayetteville), KTEJ (Jonesboro), and KETZ (El Dorado).