American Educational Research Association Plenary Presentation
Commission on Research in Black Education
New Orleans, LA
It took Lerone Bennett several decades to write his newest book, Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln’s White Dream, meticulously documenting Abraham Lincoln’s white supremacy beliefs. Bennett shows that Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” was a conscious and necessary deception that did not free a single enslaved African. Bennett then shows the carelessness of historians, and even the cover-up of the record by some, in order to let the myth survive. How ironic that many tears have been shed by those who choose the Lincoln Memorial as a symbolic site to celebrate African liberation, while oblivious to those who truly sought to free Africans, not the least of whom were Africans themselves. Instead we honor an opponent of equality who openly espoused white supremacy views until his death. Then we accept a myth that is the opposite of the truth.
In many ways, the persistence of the myth of Abraham Lincoln as a liberator of Africans is a symbol of the contemporary response to the state of education of African Americans and of African people worldwide. So much of what we believe about our state is false. How do we account for this myth of the “Emancipator” and of “emancipation.” It is in the curriculum and in the culture at large, a belief in the face of all evidence to the contrary. And so, until this very time, we have a whole nation in deep denial. Continue reading