by Henry Louis, Jr. Gates and Donald Yacovone (Editors)
From the publisher:
Generations of Americans have debated the meaning of Abraham Lincoln's views on race and slavery. He issued the Emancipation Proclamation, authorized the use of black troops during the Civil War, supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery, and eventually advocated giving the vote to black veterans and to what he referred to as "very intelligent negroes." But he also harbored grave doubts about the intellectual capacity of African Americans, publicly used the n-word until at least 1862, enjoyed "darky" jokes and black-faced minstrel shows, and long favored permanent racial segregation and the voluntary "colonization" of freed slaves in Africa, the Caribbean, or South America. In this book--the first complete collection of Lincoln's important writings on both race and slavery--readers can explore these contradictions through Lincoln's own words. Acclaimed Harvard scholar and documentary filmmaker Henry Louis Gates, Jr., presents the full range of Lincoln's views, gathered from his private letters, speeches, official documents, and even race jokes, arranged chronologically from the late 1830s to the 1860s.
Complete with definitive texts, rich historical notes, and Gates's original introduction, this book charts the progress of a war within Lincoln himself. We witness his struggles with conflicting aims and ideas--a hatred of slavery and a belief in the political equality of all men, but also anti-black prejudices and a determination to preserve the Union even at the cost of preserving slavery. We also watch the evolution of his racial views, especially in reaction to the heroic fighting of black Union troops.
At turns inspiring and disturbing, Lincoln on Race and Slavery is indispensable for understanding what Lincoln's views meant for his generation--and what they mean for our own.