tv The Presidency African Americans Remember Lincoln CSPAN April 2, 2018 12:00am-1:01am EDT
for having me. prof. joseph: thank you. >> next sunday, april 8, we >> next sunday, we continue "american in turmoil." activists redefine the role of the federal government and challenge for notional value. but the assassinations of martin luther king jr. and john f. kennedy dealt shattering blows. next sunday live at 8:30 a.m. eastern.
>> next, on the presidency, a discussion of "they knew lincoln." it was first published in 1942. it tells the stories of the african-americans who knew and worked for president lincoln and mary todd lincoln. this is one hour. >> joining us is kate masur. there are new introductions and edits. >> joining us is kate masur. there are new introductions and edits. she teaches at northwestern diversity. she is the coeditor of "the world the civil war made." her scholarship explores how americans grappled with questions of race and equality after the abolition of slavery in the north and south. she has worked with the national park service on projects of reconstruction. the civil war can alternatively feel like the distant past or the recent past, depending on what is happening in our world today. but when we think about it from the perspective of human connections and experience, it
can feel startlingly recent. john tyler still has two living grandchildren. similarly, in the 1940's, johnny washington interviewed local african-americans in the capital who had been alive in the 1860's. he recovered the neglected stories to get a fuller picture of what life was like when lincoln was president. in its original publication, one review said the book filled an obvious gap in the material about lincoln that one wonders why no one ever did it before. we will get into that in our conversation. although washington spoke was successful, it was largely forgotten. we found it, at the cottage, an invaluable resource, and it remains an important resource in our library. the stories are far too important to be on so few shelves. fortunately, dr. masur has
reintroduced to these voices to a wider audience. she explains the context of abraham lincoln in light of not only the civil war, but in washington's own time, when the an area ofpital was great opportunity for african-americans. please join me in welcoming dr. kate masur. [applause] when we opened almost 10 years ago, before the lincoln bicentennial, it felt like new books were coming out on lincoln almost weekly. it was not uncommon for people to say, what more could possibly be written about lincoln? so i chuckled when i read in the book that after the lincoln centennial in 1909, people were saying the same thing. how did john washington prove them wrong? kate: it is funny, and i like that line too. people back then, after this
slate of lincoln related stuff his centennial, what more could possibly be written? john washington proved them wrong. it is so obvious and simple and yet it had not happened. despite all of that attention on lincoln, very few people, really anyone who had access to publications, had asked the question, what did african-americans who knew lincoln think of lincoln, and how might they have changed them? what were his interactions with african-americans like? it is kind of unbelievable to think that he was the first person to write that book. that it was not until 1942 that there was a book like that in the world. so even though lincoln and leadership, lincoln and
religion, lincoln and mary -- even in the 1930's there were a million books on each of those topics. and yet nothing on lincoln and african-americans, certainly nothing in a consolidated form of the book. >> tell us a little bit about the lincoln establishment of the time and how washington was treated by them. kate: it is an interesting story. one of the things i learned as i started to research was that his papers -- i never did find and no one i talked to knows where the zone personal papers might be. that is such a shame. he wrote letters constantly and undoubtedly received them constantly. he was tremendously literate and liked to write and express himself in writing. to imagine what his personal collection of letters would have
looked like, it seems amazing and sad that it does not exist. so one of the ways i found out about him and what he was doing was by looking in the papers of people he wrote to. those papers are sometimes saved. some of the people he was in correspondence with while writing this book were members of the lincoln establishment. these were people who -- i was interested to see many of them based in the midwest. there was a lincoln industry in the midwest who were involved in various lincoln associations. there is the abraham lincoln association, based in springfield. and there was the lincoln national foundation in fort wayne, indiana. these organizations were involved in sponsoring and
popularizing the history of lincoln, helping people collect lincoln related paraphernalia, signatures, original photos. washington reached out to them when he started his work and he wanted to know if they knew any information about somebody like elizabeth tetley. these organizations had clipping files. he made one trip out to illinois and that is where he found out about lincoln's barber in springfield. he had been born in haiti and immigrated to the united states and became a prominent person in springfield. for the most part, the members of the lincoln establishment were helpful to washington. they received his letters. he said, i am doing this, they were encouraging and said it would make a good book.
the colored side of lincolniana, as washington called it at one point. with the help of the library of congress, he got a book contract. there were some difficulties to this, particularly in the attitude. i thought most in the attitude of a professor at the university of illinois who was the leading academic historian of lincoln at that time. randall was also supportive of the book. the lincoln collector guide connected washington with randall. randall was an important person to have your stamp of approval from. and randall appreciated the book, but he pigeonholed washington as a writer of folklore. he kind of labeled the book as, this is not really history. he compared it to a letter described in the book as a knee grow spiritual.
-- negro spiritual. an expression of the racial feeling. in a way that was kind of patronizing and reducing washington to only being a black writer writing about black things, as opposed to a part of what washington is fired to be, -- washington aspired to be, which was a real historian dealing with evidence and facts and research. so there was this dynamic to some extent with randall. so it was interesting to see that play out. >> you mentioned elizabeth keckley. she and one of her books are one of the major motivations for washington writing this book. there has long been speculation about whether elizabeth was the true author of the book, behind the scenes, which was a very controversial book at that time. or whether it had been ghostwritten. there was a charge before washington got started writing this that not only had it been ghostwritten by a female war
correspondent from minnesota, but that elizabeth never existed. [laughter] so. denying her very existence. and she was a very prominent member of washington society. who was behind this, and how did washington and others respond? kate: this was in 1935, and washington was collecting lincoln-related materials well before that. reporter for the associated press was interested in the history of women correspondence in washington, d.c. she ended up talking to a democratic political operative
who said, by the way, one of the earliest women correspondents in washington was a woman named jane from minnesota, and by the way, she is the actual author of behind the scenes. no such person existed who could have possibly been that close to mary lincoln. that never could have happened, he asserted confidently. the reporter put this down into the paper. it was a big story. the headline turned out to not be about early women correspondents, it was some headline that said this book was written by somebody else. so john washington saw the story in "the washington star," and there was a general outcry among african americans in washington dc who said, this is crazy.
we knew her. she died in 1907. it was not that long ago that she had been alive. how can this person come out and say this? washington went out there and wrote a letter to the editor. people were calling up the editor on the phone there was this outcry. but washington got his letter to the editor published in the washington star. he said all you have to go is talk to black people in washington, and you will find out that elizabeth did exist. it turns out that these papers are at the library of congress. i was able to go and find out her side of the story. she found this out. it seemed like she was a bit abashed about this. she went and interviewed washington, and he sent her to interview other people. she published this follow-up
story, and it is good. it says, it turns out a lot of people knew elizabeth after all. and also she says something i quoted in the introduction. she went to the zones and found that in the homes of african-americans in washington was so much history. there were so many stories and photos and objects. and she was taken with that. and i was interested in the fact that in her little journal, like a daily diary, she said, wrote correction. she knew it was a correction. it appeared to be just a follow-up story, but in her personal diary she said i correct. anyway, that is what spurred washington to start researching elizabeth further that sent him on a broader project that became this book.
>> you also mentioned that randall was taking a bit of a paternalistic approach .o washington and his project he was referring to it as folklore. washington insisted the content was historically true. a lot of the primary sources within the homes are one of the things he relied on. oral history he relied on heavily. oral history has long faced hurdles in acceptance. on the one hand, there are concerns about historical accuracy, when you are dealing with someone's memory. on the other hand, if you do not give it credence, you are silencing these different human experiences. those would all be lost to us as washington's book demonstrates. how did washington work to support the stories he was collecting, and how did you evaluate those stories as an editor 75 years later? kate: that is a very good
question. the way that i see washington's book is that he drew on every single resource he possibly could, including his own memory. the beginning of the book has stories that he recollected his grandmother's friends telling when he was growing up. he was born in 1880 and many of his grandmother's friends had been born in slavery and escaped slavery during the civil war. a few of them had encountered the lincolns. so he drew on his own memory, he interviewed people, he did archival research, especially in u.s. government records. he found elizabeth keckley's application for a pension for her son. he found many different kinds of sources.
you could argue he tried to triangulate as many sources as he could. but in a lot of cases, there was no corroborating evidence. stories that his grandmother's friends had told about what it was like to work in lincoln's white house, or what it was like to be in the choir that sang for lincoln when he visited a camp for escaped slaves during the civil war, those stories cannot be corroborated with any kind of documented evidence. it is just not the kind of thing that would have been written down. so the question is, do you say, we can't use it? or do you say, well, it is a on people's memories and we have to take it with a grain of salt. it is not a coincidence or an accident that many times it is the stories of people who are not wealthy or famous, whose records are not preserved in an
archive. so there is also an aspect of those decisions about oral history and how you talk about this that has to do with power in history, and who has had power in the past. you are talking about people who may or may not have been able to write, even if they did exchange letters with people, the letters might not have been saved. you cannot hope to do -- you have to draw from every possible source you can. as far as my own approach to this, i made a decision with this book that i was not going to try to track down every single fact. someone else could do a different version of a reprint of this book that would be an annotated version, full of footnotes and figuring out, what can we find out about this person or that person, can we locate them in the census? can we locate them in other
kinds of records, property records? going to dowas not that because it would take the rest of my life. someone younger than me can take that on. or it could be a collaborative project. it would be amazing. i decided i just wanted the book out there in the world, and i was leaving it to other people to grapple with what was in there. where it came up in my introduction, i backed up some things, but mostly i just let it speak for itself. >> let's delve a little bit more into the idea of power. washington was convinced that everyday interactions that lincoln had with african-americans shaped his showed him what was possible. they were advocates and influencers on lincoln. the atlantic recently published an article about a week ago
about the wpa federal writers project slave narratives that drew a similar conclusion, that they were influencers, that there was a symbiotic relationship there. even though those stories were collected under slightly different circumstances. we used both washington's book and the slave narrative to inform our interpretation of lincoln's time here, including his interactions with formally enslaved men, women, and children. what challenges did washington face in collecting the oral histories for his book, and how did his efforts differ in some ways from the larger slave narrative? kate: they seemed to be happening at the same time. it is interesting that this is a moment in the 1930's, it probably started a little earlier than that. it happens to be as people who lived through the civil war are dying out.
that is going on. at the same time, there is a populist impulse in american popular culture that is turning a lot of people's attention in different ways to the experiences, it is like new deal culture. comparing people to farmers and working-class people. so it is drawing a lot of people's attention to the idea of interviewing people who had experienced slavery before it was too late. the federal writers project was part of that. one of the issues is that those people were very old at that time. people have written about this with the federal writers project. these were very elderly people by definition who would have been, more or less, children at the time when slavery ended. the same was true for washington. for example, the person he ended
up talking to about elizabeth keckley was a woman named hannah brooks who was very old when washington interviewed her. brooks was originally from virginia but had spent her life in washington. she is from a pretty elite family and had an aunt who ran the boarding house in new york city where elizabeth keckly would stay when she went to new york. she was staying in that boarding house when she was writing the book. and hannah brooks remembered being a girl and knowing who elizabeth keckley was and she remembered a particular white abolitionist journalist named james coming by. everybody knew he was helping kegley with her memoir. just to give that example. so washington interviewed the elderly hannah brooks in the presence of her daughter, mary.
and mary attested in a written statement to her mother's sound mind and memory. all of that is in the book. so washington put it out there and said, this is the interview with hannah brooks. her daughter vouched for her ability to remember this stuff accurately. this is what i have. it is plausible, he argued, that james could have helped elizabeth get the book into print. now there is scholarship on elizabeth. it has become an important book for a lot of literary scholars. no one has definitively figured -- we don'tanyone know to what extent someone helped her write the book. even if she wrote it 100% herself, nobody knows who connected her with a publisher. and no literary scholar has found a better theory then
james. there is no smoking gun evidence about this. so washington put forward what --nah broke remembered hannah brooks remembered. >> you mentioned new deal culture and responding to the outrage about this claim that elizabeth never existed was an admission point for washington to write this book. but his book also responds to other concerns. there was a major cultural and political shift happening amongst african-americans as well. he has strong feelings about the jazz age and fdr. but he also had personal motivations such as his own interest in the lincoln story. how did those motivations shape his book, who was his intended audience, and who was the
publisher's intended audience? kate: washington was born in 1880. by 1930, he was 50. he was a middle-aged person when writing this book. he was also a high school teacher in washington. he taught commercial art and worked with kids. he was married but they did not have kids. he was working with kids all the time. he had concerns about the youth culture of his day. he thought they were too many unwholesome things going on. he was worried about jazz and movies and movie representations, particularly of african-americans. the book is a little bit
nostalgic in the sense that he really admired his grandmother's friends and that generation. a generation that lived through the civil war. i think he imagined both a white and black audience for this book. the publisher marketed it more , althoughat way too more to a lincoln-collecting, whiter audience. but washington wanted people to know about what he considered the heroic generation. he wanted them to know about the brave men and women who had escaped from slavery and came to washington and worked really hard. he emphasizes hard-working values. and he wanted to hold them up. there is another component that came out in his correspondence.
he remained a republican, even through the new deal. so as a lot of african-americans were changing their party allegiance, and this was a huge political shift that we need to understand really well, a lot of african americans changing their political allegiance in the 1930's from the republicans, which was the party of lincoln, to the party of democrats because things were changing. washington was of a demographic, being an older person and a relatively well-off person who tended not to become democrat. they were more conservative and said democrats had always represented to them the party of racism and the party of the ku klux klan. in the end, they were absolutely fighting a losing battle on that front.
but what was motivating washington a little bit in this book was this idea to remind people that lincoln was really somebody who believed in emancipation, who believes inequality for all human beings regardless of race. >> a lot of them were disillusioned by the republican party as well. we posted about him recently when haiti was in the news. he was a haitian and someone who knew lincoln well. every -- why is his story so important to the washington book and the lincoln canon?
kate: the barber was from haiti and moved to baltimore originally, then made his way to louisiana and up to st. louis. it is interesting to think about, because it was that french-influenced part of north america. then he moved to illinois because it was a free state. according to the story, he was really tired of living in states where slavery was legal. why would you want to do that if you had a choice? so he ended up settling in springfield, where he ran a barbershop that was a kind of meeting place for all kinds of people. springfield is the capital of illinois, so probably a lot of political conversations happened. he supported the arts and published interesting anecdotes and poetry in the local paper.
and lincoln was his property lawyer, and helped him with property transactions and things like that. in terms of the historical records, not much is known about their relationship in springfield before lincoln became president. we know lincoln was his lawyer. and we know a fair amount about pflugerville because he published stuff in the newspaper. but as far as the character of their relationship, there is not a lot of documentary evidence. there is a letter from him to lincoln when lincoln is in the white house that is cordial and friendly. they clearly had a casual, informal friendship. washington had heard of a child, a preacher had said he was sure that god had put an african-american person on this
earth to teach lincoln about equality and to teach lincoln to understand that all people and according to this story, he said that there was such a person in this world. washington never forgot that as a boy. so when he came to learn about louisville, he hypothesized that he was a person. creativity, the dignity, the independence of people of african descent. it is not insignificant. it is cleaned up -- it is completely significant. haiti had become an independent republic and had thrown off the chains of slavery and the french empire and become a independent republic governed by free people of africans -- african descent in 1803. himody who interacted with
would have to talk to person who came from the first independent black republican the entire civil world and would have been able to tell that story and make lincoln know that black independence and emancipation was possible, and indeed, a good idea. he plays a very important role in the book. there is a great scene that i also like where washington went to springfield to track down as much as he could. he was asking people about what they remembered about him. one of the defendant says, look in that mirror right now. that is the mirror that lincoln would have looked in because it was the mirror from the barbershop. i just imagine washington looking in that mirror that lincoln had looked in. it is cool. >> it gives me chills. we have talked a lot about the
content, about how he came up with this project. how was the book received? : the book was very well received. it was reviewed very widely in places like "the new york times" and "the new york tribune. there was nothing else like this out there and it filled a really important niche. there were some not so positive reviews, particularly some lincoln aficionados that said there was not much that was new. whatever, we all read those reviews. [laughter] kate: it was covered in the black press. he got a medal of honor from the haitian government based on his telling of the barber.
the haitian government gave him an official certificate of honor. and it sold out quickly. and then it was never reprinted. >> why was it never reprinted? kate: i do not know. there are a lot of different factors that could have gone into it. one is that washington's literary agent died right before the book came out. had innot feel like he agent, or somebody who could the newor go back to york publishers and say, hey, help this guy get another book out. thatter said in one letter the publisher was having financial problems. somebody pointed out to me the other day, i had taken on board that this book came out in february 1942, right after pearl harbor. it was not expected to be a book that came out in the middle of the united states being involved
in a war. there were paper shortages. i actually do not know right now what the impact of the united states entering the war was on the publishing industry. it was possible a could not be published right away and then by the time things got back to normal, it was forgotten. when i first found the book, i found it in a university of michigan library. i then tried to figure out where to get a copy. it has been out of print and copies cost usually more than 100 $50, if not, more than $300. so that was really one of my motivations for wanting to see it back in print. i think it should be widely available and until now it has been a collectors item at a book that your average person cannot get, a book that is not
available and any bookstore in springfield, illinois or here. i just really thought that it deserved an audience and a readership in the 21st century. >> and the copy we have at the cottage was donated to us. it is one of those rare books that it is so essential to the work we do. several of the stories and there -- in their are essential to our -- in there are essential to our interpretation. washington had a second book project. what was his purpose on what happened with that effort? kate: he was really excited by the reception of this book. i could see that in his letters to other people. letters i was reading, he would say, he had a clipping service so he would say, i have just gotten more reviews. he knew that black soldiers stationed in hawaii were reading it at an army base in hawaii. all of these exciting things were happening and he wanted to do another book on african-americans and lincoln.
but this one sounded like he imagined it to be more of a political book. more about the need to remain faithful to the republican party and the need to honor that tradition of the republicans. he said he had lots of stories that never made it into the book and i believe that. just his notes on interviews, i mean, what happened to that stuff? he had lots of stuff on the cutting room floor. he thought there would be an audience for another book but he was not able to get it published. he wrote to some of the people in the lincoln world and asked for help approaching a publisher in new york. they were lukewarm. they did not seem too interested in helping him out this time around. it's like they only had space in their brain for one book i but notby washington another one. he was disappointed by that.
it never came to fruition. several people have asked me and i know several people who have tried to find that lost manuscript. there are correspondence about sending the manuscript to so-and-so. nobody has ever found the actual manuscript. or knows what was really in there. >> i love those kinds of mysteries. it could still be out there. barring someone finding that manuscript, let's go back to the original question, has everything been said they can be said about lincoln, or are there crucial perspectives that are still missing? kate: i am really glad this book is back in the world. i hope going back to the idea of annotating it. i think that people could use it as a jumping off point for additional research either on
african-americans who encountered lincoln, or the african-american world that we still do not know that much about. i want to try to say this without sounding boastful, but there was a black historian named benjamin who was writing in the 1950's and 1960's. he was one of the few people who delved into the relationship between lincoln and african-americans. he tried to write about using the resources he had at that time. he wrote about african americans in the war, african-americans and lincoln. and i have in my own way gone back in a couple of issues that he wrote about to see if there was more to say. in two major areas, i found there was and i have written articles that are like scholarly articles about -- that expand on what he was doing. because of digitized newspapers and the kind of range of
questions we can ask now, i think, i have been surprised at how much scholarship there still could be about lincoln and race and lincoln and african-americans. if people could just go beyond the stories that get told over and over again. go back to primary sources and use the sources at our disposal. i think there is more to say. >> obviously the answer we wanted to hear. what is your next project? kate: i am working on a book about the origins of the 14th amendment and the antislavery movement. i have written a lot about reconstruction but this book is about going much earlier and talking about the things that ended up in reconstruction policy, especially the 14th amendment, had their origins. >> fantastic. thank you so much. everyone, please join me in
her -- thinking her. [applause] >> we would like to open it up for questions. just a note because this is being recorded. please speak up when you ask your questions. >> from your perspective, was there anything you would consider a new insight into lincoln that evolved from washington? kate: definitely. if you do not consider things like establishing elizabeth's relationship, her one thing that is significant from washington's work and verifiable in documented records is how lincoln seems to have treated people who worked for him. a lot of the people that washington is writing about our employees of the white house and employees of the lincoln's and
who worked for the lincolns. there is a story, to stories about two men who had worked for the lincolns in different ways. lincoln worked really hard to get them jobs in the treasury department. there is a paper trail of that. he was writing the treasury department thing, can you help this person get a job. it will not work out here, what about here? that suggests he was a conscientious -- and there is more anecdotal evidence that he and mary lincoln were conscientious employers who treated the people who were for them quite well according to the standards -- in relation to the standards of that time. that is the kind of thing that somebody could use to add to or fill out a portrait of who lincoln was. it is the kind of question like how were they as employers? , a lot of people never think to ask. because people do not think of
the history of wealthy or middle-class white people as employers. do we think about what they were like at home and how they treated their staff and family? those are different kinds of questions. they go more towards questions about people's personal or private lives. -- sorryn example of to go on -- those are some of the areas of the book that have been frequently cited by historians. >> [indiscernible] compatible theow stories are from my mother telling the stories.
[indiscernible] >> kate, can you tell everyone a little bit about who elizabeth thomas was? kate: one of the stories in the book is about elizabeth thomas, known as betty thomas. she owned land on what is now fort stevens property. when the united states government decided to build a fort there, they informed her that she was going to have to give up our land. they said we will compensate you for it later. they proceeded to build fort stevens on that land. there is also a story that she was there when lincoln was there -- somebody else told him to death. but he was there during the battle of fort stevens. and then she never got her
just compensation from the federal government. and washington had some documents about her that tells the story of her and her relationship with lincoln. she mentioned that lincoln promised her this, and that it was not his fault. it was because lincoln had been killed that -- she would have gotten the converse -- compensation had lincoln survived. story and provide some documentation and i think her story there about her struggle to get what was due to her after the war. which went on for decades. i was really interested in this story. we should just compare notes because, i don't eat i would have found something you did not party fine. otherwise i would say things like ancestry. all of the things in database like ancestry are adding to it.
boyer -- oral history, oh no, wait. [laughter] kate: maybe we can put our heads together. >> i found all of it. kate: and the whole neighborhood sounds like it was so interesting. thank you. >> thinking about how many documentary projects there were, but clearly that was not the case. i wondered how he was able to do the research that he did going to many places. was it self funded? kate: he was a teacher, so he had summers. when he went to the midwest,
that big trip to the midwest was in august of 1938. he had a very stable job teaching for the desegregated d.c. public schools. he also had a degree in dentistry and by most accounts was the first african-american the dental boards in washington, d.c.. he probably practiced dentistry outside of his house on the side. >> they would call that a side hustle. [laughter] kate: he was well-off enough to own a house on florida avenue and a vacation house in highland beach, maryland. if you don't know what that is, it is like a very elite african-american beach community in maryland that was originally founded by frederick douglass's son, charles douglas. he was not wealthy, but by the standards of that day for
someone who was african-american, he was doing pretty ok. in terms of time, he did it in the summer. i was trying to figure it out, he said he got launched on the book, he was collecting step before 1935. he got launched on the book. a lot of the dates of interviews are from 1938 and the book was in production process for most of 1940/1941. so he worked on it for a few years. >> could you tell us one of the best oral history stories? kate: i think the story from hannah brooks about remembering elizabeth keckley and being around when that book was written is an amazing story.
there is another story from washington's own memory of his grandmother's friend who remembered being in a church in washington, d.c. on the night of december 31, 1862, the day of the issuing of the emancipation proclamation. she describes -- there were a lot of -- during the civil war in washington, especially with e churches with prominent pastors, white dignitaries liked to go to these churches and see what was going on there. she described how an advanced they were going to be white important people there, and the black minister would be there, and she wanted to be part of it all. there was singing and preaching
,ll day and into the morning and celebration. so that is a really good story. >> there is a lot of effort that people make to portray lincoln as a racist. is there anything in his work that would reflect either way? kate: yes. this book is very admiring of lincoln. and i want to be clear on this when i am talking about the book, this is not the only view of lincoln. it is not the only view among african-americans of lincoln. even in the early 1920's, the -- debois published some snippets on lincoln that was
admiring of him but said he was big enough to be inconsistent. it has this beautiful, poetic language about how he was generous, our friend but our worst enemy. all of these dichotomies about the contradictions of lincoln, and the frustrations of lincoln not moving quickly enough on emancipation or not really believing in colonization, or not really believing in equal voting rights for african-americans. so i want to be clear that there are many ways of talking about lincoln's legacy and this is just one of them. he is very positive on lincoln and thinks that lincoln deeply believed in the equality and dignity of all humans. i do also think that lincoln had a very humanitarian sensibility. but he also had a really hard time imagining the united states as a republic in which people of
different races could live on terms of the quality. uality.quality -- that was hard for him to wrap his mind around and he was not as progressive on those issues as many other people of his era. i see him as a complicated figure on this issue. but washington is slanted very pro-lincoln. >> i have often thought about that same thing, about his ability to envision this. i have always wondered but have not researched how much of that had to do with his own personal feelings of what was possible, and his reading of society and how surprised he would be to see the continued struggles we have today. >> [inaudible]
kate: i think there is no doubt that lincoln hated slavery here -- slavery. he thought slavery was immoral and hated what the slaveholding class was doing the united states. he thought that slavery and slaveholding was taking the united states away from what he believed was be right path for america. so i do not actually think there is a contradiction between wanting to get rid of slavery
and also having some kind of doubts about racial equality. why did washington die in the mental hospital? kate: he did not die in the mental hospital. >> what did he die of? kate: it is very sad and sweet. he and his wife died three-month apart. they had been married for 60 years or so and he died in 1964. as far as i know, he did not die at saint elizabeth. there is an obituary of him. they do not say that he did. in that case, i would guess --
his wife died a few months earlier and he was quite elderly. it is possible that he had gone there because he could not take care of himself. i have never seen any indication that he was mentally unsound or anything like that. >> we have time for one more question. then we will end up there. >> one more question. [laughter] >> what is your view in terms of, did lincoln really free african-americans? kate: your question took a little turn at the end. i think he hated slavery his
whole conscious life and probably sincerely felt this was a moment of tremendous importance. did he free african-americans? no, he did not. this was one of many policies that led towards emancipation and while people in washington were doing what they were doing, people in slavery were breaking their bonds. they were leaving slavery. they were refusing to work and moving towards union lines and making slavery untenable on the ground. so in very many ways, they freed themselves or at the very least put things in motion. they put a problem in motion that the united states government was not going to be able to solve. you cannot put that genie back in the bottle. they made it impossible to do anything other than move towards emancipation. >> that is a good way to end. thank you so much. thank you dr. masur. [applause]
thank you all. i'm the executive director of president lincoln's cottage. i realize i did not say that at thank you for coming to the first. cottage and we hope to see you again really soon. take care. >> this week is the 50th anniversary of martin luther king junior's assassination. transfer live coverage from memphis on c-span and american history tv on c-span3. on c-span tuesday at 1:00 p.m. eastern. we are live from the university of memphis holiday inn with pulitzer prize winner, author and historian taylor branch. wednesday beginning at 4:30 p.m. eastern, live coverage of the outdoor service in front of the
lorraine hotel, the side of the assassination with remarks by civil rights leaders, including jesse jackson. american history tv on c-span3 tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. archival events including cbs news anchor walter cronkite announcing dr. king's assassination. a portion of his funeral in atlanta. wednesday beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern, live coverage with civil rights leaders, both past and present, including george diane nashhn lewis, and tamika mallory. the 50th anniversary of the assassination of dr. martin live tuesday and wednesday on c-span and american history tv on c-span3. american history tv is on c-span3 every weekend featuring museum tours, archival films and programs on the presidency. here is a clip from a recent program. rule about press
conferences that some of my professionals on my staff do not agree with. i never plan for questions. i know most people do, i say most, many do. the reason i do not plan them is that the answer is contrived. nobody will get away with a question reuse say, i would like to have this question asked. the other thing is this, i have a feeling that generally question whether the is hard, strong and tough, not belligerent. strong and tough gets a better answer. and ali saves me from what i call the easy question where somebody is trying to help me. the average viewer and listener says, that is one of his friends. >> you can watch this and other american history programs on our website where all our video is archived. that is c-span.org/history.
>> monday night on "the communicators." president michael powell is interviewed by kyle daly of political. ismy own belief of what happening to facebook today was predictable and inevitable to some degree. , essentially, you have a brilliant platform-based advertising model that emphasizes precision propaganda. that precision propaganda can be used for good or for evil. i think that you had this mythology almost in the opening decade of the internet that information always wants to be free and available, but openness is always good. i do not think there was a full thinking through of the way that one could inject into that social grass stream evil.