FRANK J. WILLIAMS
CAME TO HOMER
In observance of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, the
Honorable Frank J. Williams, retired Chief Justice of the Rhode
Island Supreme Court and one of the nation’s leading authorities
on the life and times of Abraham Lincoln, spoke in the Bonne
Auditorium of the Homer Intermediate School on Clinton Street
in Homer on Friday, September 9, 2011, at 7:30 PM. Because of
Homer’s historic connections to “The Great Emancipator,” Justice
Williams addressed “Lincoln and the Constitutionality of
Emancipation.” The event is free and open to the public and made
possible through funding provided by the Ralph R. Wilkins
Foundation, Inc. and the Homer Education Foundation.
Williams is one of the country’s most renowned Lincoln
collectors, having amassed an unsurpassed private library and
archive that ranks among the nation’s largest and finest. In
addition, for more than twenty years he has been widely
acknowledged as the foremost leader of America’s Lincoln
fraternity – the large, nationwide community of Lincoln
historians, students, and enthusiasts. Since 1996 he has served as
founding Chairman of The Lincoln Forum, a national assembly of
Lincoln and Civil War devotees. The Forum has blossomed into
one of the largest Lincoln organizations in the nation, boasting
more than 600 members.
A scholar of national reputation, Williams is the author or editor
of over fourteen books including Judging Lincoln, a book of his
essays published in 2002 by Southern Illinois University Press.
He is the co-author of The Emancipation Proclamation: Three
Views, a book on the legal, political, and cultural impact of the
Emancipation Proclamation, published by Louisiana State
University Press in April 2006. His latest book, Lincoln Lessons:
Reflections on America’s Greatest Leader, with William D.
Pederson, was published in 2009.
Williams entered the military in 1962. Rising to the rank of
Captain in the U.S. Army, he saw active duty in Vietnam and was
highly decorated for five years of service. On December 30, 2003,
the President of the United States, through the Secretary of
Defense, invited Chief Justice Williams to be a member of the
then Military Commissions Review Panel for tribunals to be held
in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with the rank of Major General. The
Military Commissions Act of 2006 created the Court of Military
Commission Review on which Williams served as Chief Judge
until December 2008.
Since “Homer’s Celebration of Lincoln in Paint and Print” in 2009,
Homer has become a mecca for Lincoln historians, attracting such
scholars as Harold Holzer, Jason Emerson, and Senator George
McGovern. With his expertise on Lincoln and matters of
constitutional law, Frank Williams brought Homer further
impressive insights into the statesmanship of our Civil War