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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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What Happened to Abraham Lincoln’s Missing Slavery Speech?

What Happened to Abraham Lincoln’s Missing Slavery Speech?

By Reparations

By Allison McNearney, The Daily Beast — On the skills section of Abraham Lincoln’s resume, badass orator ranks near the top. During the course of his career, the 16th president excelled at giving profound, rousing, and memorable speeches that have been engraved on the soul of the country. But while schools across the U.S. instill their students with the historic lines from the Gettysburg Address, while politicians quote his second inaugural address in…

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Frederick Douglass

Slavery and the Family Tree

By Reparations

By Whitney Stewart, Black Perspectives — How do you make a family tree when you may not know your family history? Beyond the very real physical and emotional toll on enslaved individuals, slavery’s violence also lay in its determination to erase or prevent the creation of family histories. As Frederick Douglass asserted in his 1855 autobiography, “Genealogical trees do not flourish among slaves.” In other words, the constraints of slavery made assembling and representing…

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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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Haitian Flag

Black America should care more about Haiti

By Commentaries/Opinions

By The Miami Times — The island of Haiti had a bittersweet last week. The sweet part of the week began on the evening of Oct. 3, when U.S. District Judge Edward Chen blocked the Trump Administration’s efforts to end Temporary Protected Status for Haitians and hundreds of thousands of other immigrants from countries whose residents are people of color. The U.S. government grants TPS to people from countries where…

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