John Derbyshire On A Curious Anniversary—Lincoln’s Endorsement of “Colonization”

“Deep-rooted prejudices entertained by the whites; ten thousand recollections, by the blacks, of the injuries they have sustained; new provocations; the real distinctions which nature has made; and many other circumstances, will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions, which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Next Tuesday, August 14th, is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s address to black freedmen in the White House. I noted this fact on VDARE.com a few weeks ago, with a link to the Great Emancipator’s actual speech. Here’s the link again.

I added to that previous mention the comment that “I await with keen interest the many articles that will no doubt appear in the Main Stream Media to commemorate the occasion.”

That was sarcasm. I should be very surprised to see any commemoration in the MSM. The purpose of Lincoln’s speech to the black freedmen — I believe it was the first occasion that a delegation of free blacks had been invited to the White House — was to urge them to educate their own people on the benefits of “colonization,” which at that time and place meant the emigration of American blacks to colonies in Africa or the Caribbean:

The President, after a few preliminary observations, informed them that a sum of money had been appropriated by Congress, and placed at his disposition for the purpose of aiding the colonization in some country of the people, or a portion of them, of African descent, thereby making it his duty, as it had for a long time been his inclination, to favor that cause. . History Of The Administration Of President Lincoln, By Henry J. Raymond, 1864

Lincoln was not alone in “favoring that cause.” Colonization of American blacks in Africa had been a popular notion all through the 19th century to that point. The difficult thing, when you start looking into the issue, is not to find prominent Americans who supported colonization, but to find any who didn’t.

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Complete text linked here.


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