Readers of American history and books on Abraham Lincoln will appreciate what Los Angeles Review of Books deems an "accessible book" that "puts a human face -- many human faces -- on the story of Lincoln's attitudes toward and engagement with African Americans" and Publishers Weekly calls "a rich and comprehensive account."
Widely praised and winner of the 2023 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, this book illuminates why Lincoln's unprecedented welcoming of African American men and women to the White House transformed the trajectory of race relations in the United States. From his 1862 meetings with Black Christian ministers, Lincoln began inviting African Americans of every background into his home, from ex-slaves from the Deep South to champions of abolitionism such as Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth. More than a good-will gesture, the president conferred with his guests about the essential issues of citizenship and voting rights. Drawing from an array of primary sources, White reveals how African Americans used the White House as a national stage to amplify their calls for equality. Even more than 160 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Lincoln's inclusion of African Americans remains a necessary example in a country still struggling from racial divisions today.