Return to the fountain of freedom

By Edward Achorn

Every American would benefit by reading Frederick Douglass’s gut-wrenching address on the Declaration of Independence, which he delivered on July 5, 1852, at Corinthian Hall in Rochester, New York. That was more than ten years before Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation and 13 years before slavery was finally abolished.

It is a scathing denunciation of America’s hypocrisy in perpetuating slavery while celebrating the signing of the Declaration, which declared that “all men are created equal” and that all are endowed with rights no man or government could justly take away.

I write about this speech in my new book, Every Drop of Blood.

“What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” the great black leader and former slave asked.

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Is it divisive to celebrate America?

By Edward Achorn

Has it become “dark” and “divisive” to celebrate America and honor such icons of freedom as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln?

According to elements of the American news media it has — at least if a politician they detest is doing the celebrating.

“Trump pushes racial division, flouts virus rules at Rushmore,” the Associated Press headlined its coverage of an ostensibly patriotic speech the president delivered at Mount Rushmore Friday night.

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Marcia Cole stands up for Lincoln Park Statue

By Edward Achorn

God bless Marcia Cole. She had the courage to show up, wearing nineteenth century garb, at a protest over a monument in Washington, D.C., that honors Abraham Lincoln for his role in emancipating four million enslaved Americans.

 Ms. Cole, a member of the African American Civil War Museum’s Female RE-Enactors of Distinction (FREED) program, spoke up for the ex-slaves who funded the statue.

The statue has been targeted for destruction or removal by the same forces that are trying to destroy or erase many symbols of American freedom and courage across the country. A copy in Boston is also at grave risk of being removed. Many of those determined to eradicate the ex-slaves’ tribute to Lincoln are white.

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Vandals vs. ex-slaves

By Edward Achorn

As expected, rioters have quickly moved on from tearing down statues of Christopher Columbus to those honoring such icons of freedom as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Ulysses Grant. Some radicals have even called for the elimination of depictions of Jesus.

Once authorities have begun permitting violent attacks on America’s symbols and history, it is hard to see where the destruction will end.

And, of course, the vandals have turned against Abraham Lincoln — the great president who saved this country and, in doing so, freed four million enslaved African Americans.

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Hating the Confederates

By Edward Achorn

While rioters in American cities in recent days have damaged or destroyed monuments to George Washington, Ulysses Grant, and even the black 54th Massachusetts Regiment, those honoring Confederates seem especially targeted for destruction. Everyone from violent Marxists to conservatives look down these days on the Confederates from their high ground of moral superiority.

Abraham Lincoln had plenty of reason to despise the Confederates and seek vengeance on them. Rather than accept his legitimate election in 1860, they led their states to break off and form their own nation.

Determined to prevent the severing and destruction of the United States, Lincoln embarked on what turned out to be four years of brutal and anguishing war, American against American. He sent hundreds of thousands of young men to their deaths.

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The untold truth about slavery

By Edward Achorn

Last week, Tim Kaine made a ludicrous statement: “The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it.”

It is shocking to hear a U.S. senator, a former Virginia governor and a former major-party candidate for vice president spout such nonsense, particularly at a time when racial tensions have been ratcheted up, with rioters looting and burning neighborhoods.

Even a cursory reading of world history would reveal that America did not create the institution of slavery (though North America’s colonies permitted it to take hold here). Slavery goes back many thousands of years.

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Erasing Abraham Lincoln

By Edward Achorn

Abraham Lincoln is in the news again. A statue of Lincoln that has stood for over 100 years in Park Square in Boston is the latest target for historic obliteration.

The statue shows Lincoln standing above a crouching half-dressed black man in broken chains. The man is looking up with strength and determination, as if ready to rise.

With American cities in flames, and an all-out propaganda effort underway to depict America as systemically racist, the time seems ripe to destroy symbols of American history that were once deemed to celebrate freedom and its inseparable companion, courage.

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Knavery at universities

By Edward Achorn

It makes me sad, if not anguished, to see liberal values under constant assault on college campuses. Rising totalitarianism, political conformity, and bullying are taking over, with the blessings of administrators who are worried about protecting their own careers. This is occurring, sadly, at our most distinguished institutions.

Administrators and many faculty members are retreating from the thing that once made colleges great: free and fearless intellectual inquiry.

And they are retreating from something else. Common decency.

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How ex-slaves freed America

By Edward Achorn

It is one of the supreme ironies of American history that our nation and our freedoms were saved by men who had been enslaved.

I think this story is not as widely told as it should be. Perhaps it does not fit today’s ideological narrative that black Americans are eternal victims of white privilege, and that blacks and whites must remain enemies.

But the heroism of the 180,000 black Americans who served for the United States during the Civil War ought to be recognized, remembered, and honored. They filled the Union ranks, fought, and died, and ultimately made it impossible for the Confederacy to fight on.

They saved the United States and, in doing so, radically transformed race relations in America.

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