1862 – President Lincoln receives the first group of African Americans to confer with a U.S. president on a matter of public policy. He urges African Americans to emigrate to Africa or Central America and is bitterly criticized by northern African Americans.
I wondered when I ran across the above statement how true it was. But, when you think about it, could there had been a white president elected by the people in 1861 who felt equal to a Black man. Answer is no, I don’t believe President Lincoln was an abolitionist at heart. As an African born in America, I can tell you I believe even the abolitionist felt superior to Black folks. White privilege may have been exercised daily in the south but how much better was the north?
This group of African Americans that Lincoln met were not slaves or former slaves but Washington Black elite. Yes, even then in 1862 there were the bougie Black class. We hear about the field negro and the house negro but what about the free negro before the end of slavery? We don’t hear must them or those who would be considedered “good enough” to met with the president.
Lincoln wanted Blacks to colonize in what is known as Panama. Yes he wanted Blacks to leave the country for Africa or Panama. Lincoln told the Black delegation of 5 Washington elite “you and we are different races” and it was “better for us both . . . to be separated.” Men like Robert Purvis (bi-racial and rich) and Frederick Douglass denounced it, charging Lincoln with racism and insisting that Blacks should demand rights and equality in the nation of their birth.
And the struggle continues …