The 1619 Project Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

The 1619 Project Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry

When Nikole Hannah-Jones published the 1619 Project in August 2019, it initially came under an unfair line of attack from historians who took issue with aspects of its discussion of Abraham Lincoln. Hannah-Jones had correctly identified Lincoln as a supporter of black colonization – a common 19th century “solution” to slavery that involved coupling emancipation with the resettlement of the freedmen abroad in locations such as Liberia or Central America.

Lincoln’s speeches and writings contain dozens of unambiguous endorsements of colonization, which he intended to subsidize through the US government, albeit on a voluntary basis for the freedmen colonists. Though misguided in its aims, Lincoln’s brand of colonization was also motivated by his antislavery beliefs and specifically the notion that resettlement abroad would permit African-Americans an opportunity to enjoy the rights and freedoms that were denied to them in…

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