April V. Taylor
Black people have been taught for years that their freedom is due in large part to Abraham Lincoln and his signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. What many fail to realize is that Lincoln never wanted to free slaves and have them live on American soil. A recent article written for The Root by scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. explores this topic and reveals that Lincoln implored free blacks to go to Africa “for the sake of their race,” and out of respect for white people.
Lincoln held a forum with delegates from area black churches at the Union Bethel AME Church in Washington. Five free men went on to hold further discussion with Lincoln in which Lincoln told the men that Congress had already set aside funds for free blacks to go to Africa and start colonies of free slaves there. Lincoln stated, “You and we are different races. We have between us a broader difference than exists between almost any other two races. Whether it is right or wrong I need not discuss, but this physical difference is a great disadvantage to us both, as I think your race suffer very greatly, many of them by living among us, while ours suffer from your presence. In a word we suffer on each side. If this is admitted, it affords a reason at least why we should be separated.”