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Last Surviving Witness Of Lincoln Assassination On YouTube

Submitted by on October 20, 2012 – 10:50 amOne Comment

Next month, Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln will open nationwide, bringing to life a part of American history often viewed in sepia tones. Part of the appeal of this costume drama will be Spielberg’s eye for detail: his ability to make a period of civil conflict, slavery, and antiquated technology relatable to our present. It’s a consequence of the march of time- once a generation is gone, their era becomes history more than family past.

But YouTube just reminded us how technology- and old-fashioned storytelling- can bridge the gaps. Circulating the web this week is a video of the last surviving witness of the Abraham Lincoln assassination- appearing on a panel television show in 1956.

The video was posted three years ago, but for some reason only became widespread recently.

The man, Samuel J. Seymour, claims to have been 5 years old when his father’s boss and wife brought him along on a business trip to Washington D.C. (Seymour’s father’s occupation? Slave overseer.)

At 95 years old, he was invited onto the program I’ve Got A Secret to share his story.

The host explains that Mr. Seymour fell and hurt his eye just the day before, and was encouraged not to attend. But Mr. Seymour insisted. I wonder if he knew what a rare chance he had to tell his story, or if he could imagine how many millions more people it might one day reach. (Seymour in fact died just months later.)

What do you think of this piece of history?

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