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Yvettep
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Post Number: 3420
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 09:49 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

...I stumbled upon an essay that Lerone Bennett Jr. published in Ebony magazine entitled “Was Abe Lincoln a White Supremacist?” A year later, as an undergraduate at Yale, I read an even more troubling essay that W.E.B. Du Bois had published in The Crisis magazine in May 1922. Du Bois wrote that Lincoln was one huge jumble of contradictions: “he was big enough to be inconsistent—cruel, merciful; peace-loving, a fighter; despising Negroes and letting them fight and vote; protecting slavery and freeing slaves. He was a man—a big, inconsistent, brave man.”

So many hurt and angry readers flooded Du Bois’ mailbox that he wrote a second essay in the next issue of the magazine, in which he defended his position this way: “I love him not because he was perfect but because he was not and yet triumphed. ….”

To prove his point, Du Bois included this quote from a speech Lincoln delivered in 1858 in Charleston, Ill.:

“I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races—that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this, that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.”

Say what? The Lincoln of 1858 was a very long way from becoming the Great Emancipator"...


Full story: http://www.theroot.com/views/was-lincoln-racist
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Chrishayden
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 10:06 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Most Europeans were white supremecists in that time--the Civil War was fought to save the Union not free the slaves.
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Cynique
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 11:38 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Another of the contradiction about the ambiguous Abe was that he was an Illinois native when, in fact, he was born in Kentucky and came to Illinois as a boy.

Some accounts of the enigmatic Lincoln have him hating slavery more than he hated the slaves.
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Chrishayden
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 11:58 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

C'mon.

I'm a St. Louis native even though I was born in Illinois and came here as a baby.
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Cynique
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 12:26 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The state of Kentucky takes this seriously enough to make the claim of being Lincoln's birthplace. which is why the state of Illinois refers to itself as "The Land of Lincoln".

Thank goodness you left Illinois and moved to St Louis, chrishayden, but technically your are not a native-born Missourian.
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Ntfs_encryption
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 02:05 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Very nice post Ms.Yvettep. Your post was timely for me. As you know, the celebration of Lincoln (200 years) was hosted on Book Notes/ CSPAN two weeks ago. There was one two hour segment where two historians (white man and black woman) discussed Lincoln’s life and the fog surrounding his stance on slavery and the welfare of black people. It was a very interesting show. More scholarly and well researched objective studies should be made in order to cut through s self perpetuating wall of conjecture, fantasy, myth and lies about this man.

Oh yeah, on a personal note, how was Yale? Did you enjoy the school and was the academic rigor what they say it is? And why did you pick Yale vice another school and what was your major? Just curious. I had two high school friends who went to Princeton but I never got a chance to question them about it. One was an economics major while the other was a nuclear physics major. I have the phone number of the physics major. Got it through a mutual friend but I can’t find it. Dang…..! And I once met a brother at a Marine base who went to Harvard medical school. He was a physician at the Marine base and I asked him how Harvard med school was (you know all the hype about being a Harvard med school grad). His exact words were; “Well, it was ok. It wasn’t that hard”. Duhhhh…?????? Then he told me he was switching professions and going to USC medical school to be retrained as an ophthalmologist. Must be nice…..
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Yvettep
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 02:40 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Glad you enjoyed it, Ntfs. My local library had a couple dozen books on Lincoln on display. I have been debating picking one up, but think I will hold off for now. BTW, it is Ferociouskitty who is the Yale grad here.
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Ntfs_encryption
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 05:24 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"BTW, it is Ferociouskitty who is the Yale grad here."

My bad! Ok, then the questions are for Ms. Ferociouskitty.
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Troy
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 07:58 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

PBS has a special on Lincoln this week called Looking for Lincoln
http://reviews.aalbc.com/looking_for_lincoln.htm
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Thumper
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 10:06 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello All,

Actually, Lincoln was a racist. I recently read a book titled Big Enough to be Inconsistent by George Fredrickson. The title came from a DuBois essay in which he discussed Lincoln's duplicity. After reading the book, Fredrickson made an objective stance on Lincoln and what he thought about race as the author was able to gleam from Lincoln's writings. Lincoln was a racist and yet he hated slavery. Lincoln's position was that 1.) as long as there were slaves, work would be deprived from the poor working class white man. Seeing as how Lincoln's family was poor and how lack of work made his whole family suffer, he took slavery personal; 2.) Lincoln felt that the two races could never live in harmony together. In the book, Fredrickson pointed out that Lincoln, when he became president, actually sought to ship the slaves out of America and colonize them in South America or some other nearby locale. As long as he did not have to ship the slaves anywhere because that would be to expensive.

Big Enought to be Inconsistent is really an informative book. I'm going to have to dig into the Lincoln-Douglass Debates in which the two candidates debated race and racial issues in 6 or 9 debates.
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Ferociouskitty
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Posted on Monday, February 09, 2009 - 11:03 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Oh yeah, on a personal note, how was Yale?

Hi, NTFS...Attending Yale remains one of the highlights of my life, personally as well as academically/professionally. I enjoyed a challenging four years, and the benefits went well beyond my academic experiences. I met people from all walks of life, with all kinds of dispositions and interesting stories to tell.

There was one classmate who had been a foster child, pre-college. In our senior year, she was shacking up with a much-older local guy who had been a Black Panther. Interesting couple...

Did you enjoy the school and was the academic rigor what they say it is?

I found the rigor to be as was rumored, but not insurmountable. Once the shock wore off after the first few days of class, I stopped marveling at the fact that I was "at Yale", and put my nose to the grindstone. I felt that, unlike my white and privileged black classmates, I didn't have the luxury to slack off. I didn't feel that I could party as hard as they did, or do anything to risk blowing the opportunity I had.

Well, I did some stupid stuff on occasion, but who doesn't between the ages of 18-21. ;-)

In my junior year, some major stress led me to fail a class, but fortunately I dropped it before it could count toward my GPA, and I took a summer school class to make it up. Other than that, I excelled academically. I attended a public magnet college prep high school, so I was amply prepared.

And why did you pick Yale vice another school and what was your major?

I majored in and earned a B.A. in economics. I had applied and gotten into three colleges: Yale, Florida A&M, and University of Miami (I'm originally from Florida). After doing well on my PSATs in my junior year, I was courted by Yale and other Ivies, but, believe it or not, I tossed the letters in the trash. I didn't think black girls from the South went to Ivy League schools. And besides, anything above the Mason-Dixon Line seemed as far away to me as the North Pole.

But then in my senior year, I got a personal letter from a black student at Yale (he was then a senior), a native of Columbus, Georgia. Stop the presses: Black folks from Georgia went to Yale??? In his letter, he extolled the virtues of the school and talked about his experiences there as a black man. He invited me to call him with questions. So, picking the hayseed from my teeth, I called him and proceeded to ask him all kinds of crazy stuff, probably along the lines of "Do y'all have REAL black people there?" LOL, seriously, my little world was so insulated. I was worried that Yale would be super-white and boring.

But the guy assured me that it was a great, fun place to be black, and he encouraged me to apply, as did my high school guidance counselor.

FAMU offered me a full scholarship, plus a stipend. Yale wasn't that generous; they offered a decent aid package, but it still was a huge amount to pay because my family had so little financially. To my mother, for whom college was never an option, the choice between the schools was a no-brainer: stay in state, go where the money was.

I had different ideas. I wanted to go to this great unknown faraway place called the North (I know it sounds silly now, but that's really how I thought); after talking to Carl (the black Yale senior), I thought I'd have all kinds of adventures there, plus all of the perks that come with having an Ivy League education. FAMU was not only in-state, but it was also a known quantity.

(Later, I was stunned when the FAMU recruiter called to berate me and call me a sell-out for choosing Yale. He was later indicated on drug and fraud charges, but I digress.)

While my mother was against Yale, my grandmother (who also raised me) and everyone else wanted me to go to Yale. My grandmother worked as a domestic and drove manual elevators standing on her feet for 40-plus years. She told me that if Yale was where I wanted to go, then I should go. I felt that she had sacrificed so that I could have those kinds of choices.

So, I went.

Okay, NTFS, now you got me all verklempt and weepy about my Nay-Nay! Here's a tribute I wrote to her, and in it, I talk about the Yale decision:

http://wondertime.go.com/parent-to-parent/article/nay-nay.html

(Yep, that's me, age one)

His exact words were; “Well, it was ok. It wasn’t that hard”. Duhhhh…?????? Then he told me he was switching professions and going to USC medical school to be retrained as an ophthalmologist. Must be nice…..

LOL, I've changed professions a couple of times myself. ;-)

My guess is that if someone hasn't found the program all that hard, they've likely had a great secondary education that prepared them for those rigors, as well as great mentoring and support. I am thankful to have had all of them above. No one in my family had gone to college before (except one uncle), so I looked elsewhere for mentors and support. There was a black woman in a management position at one of my campus jobs. She was tough, and not at all warm and fuzzy, but I made her my mentor...even though she was grouchy, lol. But she was also good at what she did, determined, and didn't hesitate to set me straight about life.
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Cynique
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Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 10:19 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What you had to say about your Yalie experience was quite interesting, FK. You are really a success story, - someone who was "ready" to answer the call when it came.

Your intellect is obvious, but your witty creative spirit also shines through your words! You go, girl! :-)
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Ferociouskitty
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Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 11:35 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks, Cynique. You and your smart, cynical ways remind me of my old mentor. ;-)
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Yvettep
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Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 11:56 am:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

FK, that Wondertime piece remains one of my favorites of your work. Much love to "Nay-Nays" everywhere! :-)
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Ntfs_encryption
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Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 04:42 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you Ms. Ferociouskitty. That was a wonderful and insightful story. When I read that you were a econ major -I almost fell out of this chair! Wow! I am very, very impressed. Without question, you are endowed with an abundance of gray matter. No doubt about it. My best friend was an econ major but he switched over to accounting. Graduated with a degree in accounting, worked for General Motors (as an accountant) and went back for a degree in electrical engineering. Couldn't’t schedule all the EE courses he needed because he was working full time for GM so he opted for a degree in computer science and math. Don’t know if he got the second degree because we don’t talk anymore but I know a mutual friend told me that he is still working at GM and has a computer business with partners.

The one guy I mentioned who went to Princeton, was also an econ major. He was very, very smart (obviously). In fact, he graduated two years before I did and he was my secret hero. I really looked up to this brother (hey, everybody has heroes). All city football player, vice captain of a city championship basketball team, Honors Society member, had a girl friend that I secretly fantasized about (hey -I couldn't help it, I was 16 years old!) and had all the respect of his peers, underclassmen, coaches and teachers. But here is the comedy of ignorance and youth. Since he was an outstanding football player, I felt he should have gone to Ohio State. But instead, he opted to what I considered a boring whimpy white boy school that did not have the athletic reputation of a powerhouse like Ohio State. For his decision, his cred was somewhat diminished in my eyes (remember -I was only 16!). Looking back, I know the brother did the correct thing and I'm sure he never regretted not going to Ohio State to play football vice going to Princeton for an academic education.

Anyway, I’m rambling. But thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I really enjoyed it. Any plans for post grad school?
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Ferociouskitty
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Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 05:30 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My best friend was an econ major but he switched over to accounting.

I took ONE accounting class in undergrad, and it was all I could do to keep my eyelids from slamming shut every class.

But thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I really enjoyed it. Any plans for post grad school?

You're welcome. Thanks for asking; I enjoyed traipsing down memory lane.

I have a Master's Degree in teaching.
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Ferociouskitty
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Posted on Tuesday, February 10, 2009 - 05:33 pm:   Delete Post View Post/Check IP Print Post    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Graduated with a degree in accounting, worked for General Motors (as an accountant) and went back for a degree in electrical engineering.

LOL, what is it with black folks, economics, and electrical engineering. My ex-husband (who I met at Yale) started out as an engineering major (electrical, if I recall) and then switched to econ. Most of the folks I'm still in touch with from college are black men who also majored in econ. We made for quite the study group...

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