History Lecture

History Lecture

"The Reaction of Black Americans to Lincoln's Death"

Leonne M. Hudson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Kent State University

Thursday, March 6, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Franciscan Center
(5 p.m. meeting with Lourdes students)
Event is open to the public

Leonne M. Hudson is associate professor of history and the faculty advisor to Phi Alpha Theta. He received his B.A. at Voorhees College and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Kent State University. Professor Hudson's specialty is 19th Century U.S. history. His research interests include the Mexican War and the Civil War era, particularly the military contributions of black troops to the Union effort. Professor Hudson has a research project in progress on the reaction of black soldiers to the death of Abraham Lincoln.

About the lecture
When Abraham Lincoln was called by the angels to make his "sacrifice upon the altar of freedom" on April 15, 1865, the Union lost its most powerful and elegant voice. Lamentations of grief permeated every corner of the nation. A stunned African American community was plunged into deep morning for the man whom they had come to admire as their Savior, friend, and protector. Many freedmen wondered aloud what would happen to them in the wake of Lincoln's demise. The disillusionment of the former slaves was magnified with their belief that the government itself had died along with its president because the two of them were inextricably bound together. Consumed with grief and sorrow, they believed that a return to slavery was a real possibility.

The famous abolitionist and orator Frederick Douglass eulogized the slain Civil War president a few days after his assassination. He said, "No people or class of people in the country have a better reason for lamenting the death of Abraham Lincoln, and for desiring to honor and perpetuate his memory, than have the colored people." After a three-week long funeral, Abraham Lincoln the man, who had saved the Union, championed freedom for African Americans, and made the ultimate sacrifice, was laid to rest in Oak Ridge cemetery on May 4, 1865. After a journey through the Civil War and a 1,700-mile journey by train, Springfield's most famous son was finally home.

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