One thought on “Professor Edna Greene Medford, “Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation””

  1. After watching Professor Edna Greene Medford’s lecture “Abraham Lincoln and Emancipation”, I was able to gain a better understanding of President Lincoln’s impact on the freedom of African Americans. Lincoln sought to free African Americans from slavery because he didn’t understand those who would claim the promise of the declaration of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for themselves but not for others. He knew that if people weren’t going to fight for the lives of African Americas then he would have to do all he could alongside blacks to gain their freedoms and preserve the union. I knew that President Lincoln was a strong advocate for the black’s freedom but I was unaware that he represented an African American woman’s court case. He argued that selling African Americans in Illinois was illegal due to Illinois being a free state. He was able to win the case and the woman was able to be freed from her position. Lincoln preferred a gradual ending to slavery in America but with the civil war, it rushed the process. Professor Medford makes a point that Americans were once political slaves to King George and that we have worked so hard for our freedoms. However, it brought lincoln great sorrow that even after America was free we still held onto slavery and didn’t fight for slaves’ freedoms.

    After viewing, it didn’t really change my viewing of Wilentz but it did make me look more closely into Hannah Jones’ writing in the “The 1619 Project”. In her writing, she holds Thomas Jefferson and James Madison accountable for their actions in the wrong treatment of African Americans but she also makes a point about Abraham Lincoln. She finds him guilty because within his proclamation he allowed ex slaves to join the union army and fight against their former owners. In her writing, she states, He believed that free black people were a ‘‘troublesome presence’’ incompatible with a democracy intended only for white people“. In this section of her writing, she goes into Lincoln’s actions to invite these former slaves and inform them that he was able to get congress to acquire funds to ship black people once freed to a whole other country. This doesn’t add up. Why would President Lincoln insist they fight in a war for their freedom in America just to be shipped to another country for their efforts? Knowing this, it made me question Professor Medford’s statement when she says that Lincoln did not want to originally include black men in the military because they wouldn’t be strong enough to stand up against their former owners on the battlefield. She then states “He found out very quickly that black men were anything but cowards and that they were spoiling for a fight”. I think he was very disappointed in what America has become and he knew that even with time African Americans will still be wrongly treated within America but he wanted to ensure that equality was written truthfully within the lines of the constitution.

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