The following quote, from an 1858 debate when Abraham Lincoln was running for Senate in Illinois, is not pretty. I'm no kind of Lincoln scholar, so I don't know if he held white supremacist views his whole life. People do change. And I knew that Lincoln's primary reason for abolishing slavery was not a moral one, but the preservation of the United States. All that said, I still was semi-shocked to reads this Lincoln quote in Randall Kennedy's book "The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency":
"I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races (applause) ... I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will for ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be a position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."
Kennedy goes on to write, in his own words:
"Yet (Lincoln) did take steps to end slavery, and allowed his perception of African Americans to evolve, and even warmed to the idea that some blacks should be accorded civil and political rights. Frederick Douglas once described Lincoln as "emphatically the Black man's President."
Yes, 1858 was 150 years ago. That's a long time. But when you read something like that, from one of the most admired men in American history, it somehow feels much closer.
1/20/2012 04:13:06 am
Mr. Washington, I just had to find a way to address you about the story that you wrote concerning "food stamp recipients wanting compassion from [the mean, evil, unthoughtful and ignorant] republicans". That was one of the most disingenuous articles that I have ever had the displeasure of reading. I find it amazing that you feel that you can get away with writing such a sadly 'slanted' story about half of the American population. I am sure that you have done your research (?), which would have validated the fact that these mean and narrow-minded (those are 'your' implied sentiments from your story) republicans are far and away more philantropic and more apt to give much more generously to those who are less fortunate, than their 'democrat counterparts'. As a single mother with over $156,000 in child-support arreaers [who has always worked several jobs throughout the years in order to take 'personal responsibility' for my own children] and as someone who was told that I made $20 too much income a month to receive any food stamp help, I am thoroughly disgusted by your apparent bias. I am 'GLAD" that I ended up not qualifying for food stamps 19 years ago, as this denial of help and or benefits 'forced me' to do whatever was necessary (working another addtional min. income job) to take care of myself and my children,and it 'forced me' to grow more character and allowed me to start feeling pride in myself' for 'doing it on my own' (the last twenty-one years as a single mother have been 'so difficult', 'so exhausting', 'so frightening', and 'unbelievably stressful', but with 'hard and continuous work', my boys and I got through it, and my oldest son is starting medical school in August (thank you 'Air Force Scholarship programs'), and my youngest is in his 2nd year of college). There are minimum wage jobs available in abundance throughout America however, many of those who want pity and continued help, just refuse to take a job that is not at the same level as the one they lost; this is a 'cop out', and I for one, do not fancy using my hard-earned tax dollars to supply help to people that refuse to help themselves! Any person with a soul should 'want' to help those that truly cannot help themselves however, by allowing those with the ability to provide for themselves [but just refuse to lower themselves to take 'an undesired job'] we are all doing them a disservice by being 'enablers', which will subsequently cause them to suffer low self-esteem, depression, and a severe lack of personal satisfaction and life happines. I found your story to be intellectually offensive and fundamentally 'lazy'- how disappointing! Karla Prudhomme
1/22/2012 01:42:33 pm
Many people tend to disbelieve anything they have not personally experienced. The commenter insists on believing, despite your evidence to the contrary, that food stamps allow people to live high on the hog, kick back and avoid working out of supposed laziness. There is also the very real human need to look down on someone else. It is easier to kick the dog than defy the bosses (the corporate elite) who are really oppressing you.
1/22/2012 01:50:38 pm
I find it hard to be very critical of Lincoln here since he was reacting to the evidence as he saw it and dealing with political realities. He was capable of considering new evidence and changing his mind (as Frederick Douglass knew). That's a big thing because it is NOT true of a LOT of people.
1/22/2012 02:08:29 pm
2/14/2012 10:18:36 am
Jesse, nice story about my cousin Abe. ( I'm his third cousin 5 time removed - both descended from Mordecai Lincoln & his wife hannah Salter - they married in Freehold, NJ in 1715. )
7/4/2013 05:25:34 pm
According to me, Lincoln got no discrimination between the black or white people. He got the same approach to both of them and he was one of the unmatched person with unmatched character. Thank you. Good to read the article that you given above.
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Jesse Washington is a Senior Writer for ESPN's TheUndefeated.com