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The Emancipation Proclamation, James Baldwin and the 21st Century: Reflecting on Equality


The goal of this program is to utilize primary historical documents and other writings to aid in facilitating conversations and civil discourse on topics that once led to – and in some instances continue to lead to – sharp schisms in society. By exploring previous moments of division, the conversations both highlight our history confronting such divisions and provide a framework for creating a civil discourse around currently divisive issues.

This conversation will focus on the Emancipation Proclamation and equality. The two major pieces under discussion are Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 proclamation and a “letter” written by James Baldwin nearly one hundred years later. Other documents within provide context for both Lincoln’s decree and Baldwin’s analysis.