Monday, February 16, 2009

Hollywood actors do Lincoln and Douglas

My father owned a lot of books. One of them was the complete text of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

I didn’t crack that one open until after I’d graduated college. And I was surprised to discover that Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas were debating the very essence of “race” in America... the legal and moral status of black people.

Stephen A. Douglas, one of the nation’s most powerful politicians at the time, didn’t hesitate to declare Negroes a lower form of humanity, unworthy of the rights of citizenship.

Abraham Lincoln, notwithstanding his opposition to slavery, likewise disavowed the ideal of “political and social equality” between blacks and whites.

How did I make it through the public school system and then earn a bachelor’s degree without knowing that Lincoln and Douglas were debating about black folks?

Last month, BBC Audiobooks released a complete audio version of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, performed by David Strathairn (as Lincoln) and Richard Dreyfuss (as Douglas).

I’m streaming a 5-minute excerpt on my Vox blog. It starts with Dreyfuss and ends with Strathairn. Click here to listen and learn.


Geneva Girl said...

Thank you for this. I just may have to buy the audio book. Although, the way Dreyfus pronounces neeegro is annoying, perhaps it was appropriate for the time. I love audio books and this would be great on a long car drive.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ You're very welcome, GG.

The Obenson Report said...

Coolio! I'm all over this one...

Reviewer X said...

You can also get it on I just did. It's like $16.

Anonymous said...

Very good post. Thanks for this information.


Andy Edwards said...

Google: Lincoln racist. You'll find that he was not the man he has been spun to be.

The best, most accurate revisionism of Lincoln can be found on in the archives.