Friday, August 11, 2023

Booknotes: Lincoln's Lost Colony

New Arrival:

Lincoln's Lost Colony: The Black Emigration Scheme of Bernard Kock by Boyce Thompson (McFarland, 2023).

During the antebellum period (when Lincoln first publicly spoke of his support for black emigration and colonization), the issue was considered a moderate social/political position. Historians and writers continue to debate what was at the core of Lincoln's motivation in this area. The nebulous time frame of his support for colonization is also vigorously contested in the literature.

Possible destinations took two forms, colonies in Africa and within the Caribbean rim. During his presidency, Lincoln endorsed a number of public and private projects in the latter sphere. One of these was the proposed Haitian colony of Bernard Kock, and this story is the subject of Boyce Thompson's Lincoln's Lost Colony: The Black Emigration Scheme of Bernard Kock.

From the description: Lincoln's Lost Colony "tells the quiet but bloody history of Bernard Kock, a New Orleans entrepreneur with an ill-fated attempt at establishing a cotton plantation on Ile-a-Vache, a deserted Haitian island, using formerly enslaved Americans. It also covers Lincoln's involvement and support of Kock's plan, as well as his pledge of $50 in government funding for each of the 453 colonists." The scheme ultimately failed, and in early 1864 the government evacuated the settlement.

More: "With chapters on Lincoln's encouragement of black deportation, the establishment of the plantation, the futile attempts at damage control and more, this text reveals an untold part of Lincoln's history."

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