The Party of Lincoln Is Dead


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By Keith Boykin, Word in Black

Republicans now celebrate the Confederacy and block civil rights legislation. Democrats delivered the first Black president, the first Black vice president, the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, and the first Black party chairman in American history.

It was a Democrat, Joe Biden, who selected Kamala Harris as the nation’s first Black vice president and Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

“Republicans are the party of Abraham Lincoln, but Black people are stuck on the Democratic plantation.” Please stop saying this. Every time someone makes this argument, an angel in heaven loses a few brain cells. 

It’s 2024, and Virginia school board members have voted to put the names of Confederate leaders on two public schools. At the same time, the state’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin, has still not signed a Democratic bill passed in February to eliminate tax breaks for the United Daughters of the Confederacy.


Republican Abraham Lincoln served as president from 1861 until he was assassinated in 1865. For the next 12 years, Republicans led the fight for Reconstruction, creating the Freedman’s Bureau, passing landmark civil rights legislation, and ratifying the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, the 14th Amendment guaranteeing citizenship to Black people, and the 15th Amendment granting Black men the right to vote.

Then it all ended. 

Nearly the entire history of Republican legislative and policy accomplishments for Black people rests on the four long years of the Civil War and the 12 short years of Reconstruction that followed it. 

While many noble Black and white Republicans carried on the cause of racial justice for the next century, the Republican Party itself effectively abandoned Black people with the Compromise of 1877 that allowed Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes to take office in exchange for the removal of federal troops that protected African Americans in the South.

Continue the article here.

Explore exhibits documenting the nearly three centuries of enslavement.

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