The White Man’s President? Debating Lincoln’s Racial Politics in the Civil War with Dr. Richard Bell

The White Man’s President? Debating Lincoln’s Racial Politics in the Civil War with Dr. Richard Bell


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Can't make this time? A video recording will be sent to all participants after the seminar.

In January 2022, San Francisco’s Board of Education voted to rename one-third of that city’s schools, including Abraham Lincoln High School. Lincoln, of course, never enslaved anyone and is best known today for the Emancipation Proclamation. Why, then, did the San Francisco Board of Education decide to strip Lincoln’s name from one of its buildings?

Perhaps they read The 1619 Project? In it, Nikole Hannah-Jones argued that Lincoln “opposed slavery as a cruel system at odds with American ideals, but he also opposed black equality.” She went on to write that Lincoln regarded free Black people as “an obstacle to national unity” and a “'troublesome presence' incompatible with a democracy intended only for white people.” Ultimately, she said, Lincoln wanted Black Americans to leave the United States. 

This conversation interrogates those incendiary claims, first by exploring Lincoln’s long-standing support for the government-promoted settlement of free Black Americans beyond the borders of the United States and then by examining his impressive re-imagining of the Constitution to refashion that proslavery document into a blueprint to attack racial bondage. 

Dr. Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Professor Bell is author of the new book "Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home," which was shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
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S
S.S. (Oxford, US)
The white mans President

Again, an outstanding conversation by Dr. Bell. He brings uncomfortable truths which makes his talks so challenging and you get a perspective that is always thought provolking!

L
L.A. (Denver, US)
Another excellent and balanced presentation by Dr. Bell

As always Dr. Bell's well researched presentation taught me history that I had not encountered before about our most beloved and mythologized president and gave me plenty to think about. His presentations are so balanced and unbiased I feel that I am being giving a great starting point for future reading and exploration of controversial topics on my own.

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
100%
(2)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
S
S.S. (Oxford, US)
The white mans President

Again, an outstanding conversation by Dr. Bell. He brings uncomfortable truths which makes his talks so challenging and you get a perspective that is always thought provolking!

L
L.A. (Denver, US)
Another excellent and balanced presentation by Dr. Bell

As always Dr. Bell's well researched presentation taught me history that I had not encountered before about our most beloved and mythologized president and gave me plenty to think about. His presentations are so balanced and unbiased I feel that I am being giving a great starting point for future reading and exploration of controversial topics on my own.