Black Suffrage: Lincoln’s Last Goal
National Archives Museum
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In April 1865, as the Civil War came to a close, Abraham Lincoln announced his support for voting rights for at least some of the newly freed enslaved people. Author Paul D. Escott explores the popular sentiment in the North on this issue and, at the same time, examines the vigorous efforts of Black leaders, in both North and South, to organize, demand, and work for their equal rights as citizens. Based on extensive research into Republican and Democratic newspapers, magazines, speeches, and addresses, Escott explores the vigorous national debates in the pivotal year of 1865 over extending the franchise to all previously enslaved men—crucial debates that had not yet been examined in full—revealing both the nature and significance of growing support for Black suffrage and the depth of White racism that was its greatest obstacle. Joining the author in conversation will be Barton A. Myers, professor of ethics and history at Washington and Lee University.
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