On this day in 1862, President Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which set a date for the freedom of more than 3 million enslaved in the United States and recast the Civil War as a fight against slavery. Up until that point, Lincoln "maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide support from the public for such a measure."
On this day in 1862, Lincoln knew that the truth could no longer be withheld; the Emancipation Proclamation would take effect on January 1, 1863 and "all persons held as slaves in the rebel states would be declared free."
One of the lowest points in my teaching career was when I stood up in front of US History classes and taught that the Civil War was about states rights, not about slavery. It haunts me still to this day. And if any of my students ever read this, I beg your forgiveness.
That error haunts me for many reasons, not the least of which is that still today there are people who believe that teaching to be true. And still today there are people who believe slavery was even good for the slaves.
Florida’s public schools will now teach students that some Black people benefited from slavery because it taught them useful skills, part of new African American history standards approved Wednesday. July 20, 2023 Florida Times Union.
As one of my dear friends and mentors said recently, "What do we do?" How can we still be mired in this egregious conflict 260 years later? How can it be?
If you carry in your heart any regret of ways you have exhibited racism or white supremacy and would like to understand how to make amends for it and be part of "repairing the breach" and restoring the dignity of all human beings, please consider participating in a Sacred Ground class. Contact me for more information, and I will find you a spot. Because I grieve about my mistakes and those of my forbears, I am reminded of the saying from our grief group: "Together we can do what I cannot do alone." Please consider Sacred Ground as an excellent way to rebuild Beloved Community, which Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was the first step towards.