Next week marks the sesquicentennial of Francis P. Blair, Sr.,’s trip to Richmond in hopes of reaching an agreement with Jefferson Davis that would lead to a negotiated settlement of the American Civil War. That mission was a key part of the movie Lincoln (2012), which covered the sixteenth president’s role in the congressional passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Everyone recalls the kerfuffle that accompanied the release of that movie concerning its historical accuracy, including the movie’s tendency to privilege Lincoln’s role over that of African Americans in seeking black freedom.
Now we are once more engaged in a dispute over the same dynamic. Continue reading