Enslaved Africans and the Lincoln Myth

A careful reading of Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation proves that it did not free all of America’s enslaved Africans. In the surprisingly short document only the slaves of “rebellious” states are ordered to be freed; those states who were loyal to America got to keep their Africans—as slaves! The “Emancipation Proclamation” lists a whole slew of places to be “left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.” At that time in history, Lincoln actually had no authority over the states where he “freed” the slaves. They were part of another country—the Confederate States of America—with an altogether different president, Jefferson Davis. Lincoln himself was never hesitant to express his hatred of Black people, like when he said: “As the negro is to the White man so is the crocodile to the negro and as the negro may rightfully treat the crocodile as a beast or a reptile so may the White man treat the negro as a beast or a reptile.”  And in 1862 he wrote in part: “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it...”  White historians and Hollywood mythmakers have made Lincoln into something he never was or wanted to be—a martyr on behalf of Black people.