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2010-06-01 13:11:04 GMT 2010-06-04 12:00:00 (GMT -06:00) Central Time (US & Canada) Yes (click here to learn more about ) Closed 0 0 0 direct invitation(s) have been sent by the voice seeker resulting in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far. Voice123 SmartCast is seeking 10 auditions and/or proposals for this project (approx.) Invitations sent by SmartCast have resulted in 0 audition(s) and/or proposal(s) so far.
Narrator: Prior to moving his printing press to Alton in 1836, Reverend Elijah Parish Lovejoy had already incited the animosity of residents of Missouri, a slave state, with his editorials against slavery . . . in addition to his railings against the evils of Sabbath-breaking, tobacco, liquor, mobs, and “popery.”
Here in Alton in the free state of Illinois, his views were supported by the northern “Yankees”, or business class citizens of the upper part of the town, and just as strongly opposed by the southern sympathizing, laboring class of the lower town.
A quarter of a century before the Civil War, Lovejoy editorialized:
Lovejoy voice: “What a mockery it is that every Fourth of July we celebrate the birth of this nation and a document that states “all men are created equal’, while our feet are on the necks of 3 million of our fellow countrymen. Even the flag of freedom that waves above us is made from materials cultivated by slaves.”
Narrator: As Lovejoy continued to promote the cause of abolition in his Alton Observer, mobs destroyed three presses in succession by throwing them into the Mississippi.
(Sound FX – large splashes ??)
Narrator: Undeterred, Lovejoy ordered a fourth press, and, at a meeting called by alarmed businessmen (Sound FX – mumbling voices, sound of a gavel calling order) who demanded that he stop publishing, he prophetically asked:
Lovejoy voice: “Why should I flee from Alton? Is this not a free state . . .. Where can I be safe if not here: Before God and you all, I here pledge myself to continue – if need be, till death. If I fall, my grave shall be made in Alton.”
Narrator: The fourth press arrived. They stored it in a downtown warehouse with Lovejoy and fourteen armed supporters on guard.
A drunken mob of 30 men gathered outside. (Sound FX – garbled mob voices6013-76/6013-98). Shots were fired from without and then within the warehouse. (Sound FX – gunshots 6025-37/6025-10)
The mob gathered ladders, torches and more men. (Sound FX drunken voices, “Burn 'em out! Burn ‘em out!” record these)
Narrator: The wife of a local pastor ran to a nearby church to ring the bells to summon help. (Sound FX, church bells use from St. Charles history )
(SFX: five shots)
Narrator: Five shots from the mob found their mark; Lovejoy lay dead, his voice silenced for good, his press again thrown into the river.
Owen Lovejoy, Elijah’s brother, was one of Abraham Lincoln’s most ardent supporters and was one of the founders of the Republican Party and an outspoken Abolitionist, just like his martyred brother. Twenty-seven years to the day after those bullets killed Lovejoy, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States and at the onset of the Civil War, Owen delivered a rousing speech before Congress recounting the tale of his brother’s death.
In an 1838 address, before Lincoln had ever been to Washington, he spoke of Lovejoy in one of his earliest speeches.
Lincoln: Whatever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the vicious portions of population shall be permitted to gather in bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and rob provision stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure, and with impunity, depend on it, this Government cannot last.
Narrator: In 1897, citizens erected the monument before you to honor the memory of Elijah Parish Lovejoy, the first martyr to freedom of the press and abolitionism.
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