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Abraham Lincoln Archives - Institute of the Black World 21st Century

Former enslaved people in a Southern town shortly after the end of the Civil War, circa 1865.

American Slavery and ‘the Relentless Unforeseen’

By Editors' Choice, Reparations

This essay is an adaptation of the fourth annual Philip Roth Lecture, delivered at the Newark Public Library on November 4, 2019. The lecture began with an appreciation of Roth’s merging of fiction and history. An admirer of great historical writing, Roth understood that, to be truly great, it had to grapple with what he called, in The Plot Against America, “the relentless unfolding of the unforeseen.” Flipped on its…

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The Capitol stands in the background of this 1830 engraving.

When Slaveowners Got Reparations

By Reparations

Lincoln signed a bill in 1862 that paid up to $300 for every enslaved person freed. By Tera W. Hunter, New York Times — On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill emancipating enslaved people in Washington, the end of a long struggle. But to ease slaveowners’ pain, the District of Columbia Emancipation Act paid those loyal to the Union up to $300 for every enslaved person freed. That’s right, slaveowners got…

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