black businessmen after the Civil War

Hartford Newspaper photo of black businessmen after the Civil War


February 12, 2015

In keeping with the subject of black history, I saw a movie about Abraham Lincoln, played by actor, Sam Waterstone. Toward the end of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln called for a special conference with some of the leading black people of his day.  He wanted to discuss his plan of action to help the African Americans after the Civil War ended.  Present were black lawyers, doctors, businessmen, and clergy.  His plan was to round all of the black people and ship them to the island of Grenada so that they could start their own country.  His reason for this was, as he stated, the dominant race of people in the United States would never accept black people as equal.  This in and of itself would mean constant conflict between the two races.  This would make it hard for black people to make a living for themselves.

The blacks attending the meeting vehemently opposed this plan.  Some pointed out the fact that many blacks were here in this country before whites.  Others emphasized that it was the blacks who built up this country laying the foundation for the country’s spiritual, political, and economic success.  Black people helped by fighting in the American Revolution seeking freedom from British rule and tyranny.  They were promised their freedom then, but this never materialized.  Blacks wanted to enjoy the rights and privileges guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution.  Through their labor and sacrifice they made all of this available to others.  It was now time for them to enjoy the fruit of their labors.  At the meeting, it was concluded that if black people were not bound by unjust laws, whips and chains, forcing them to labor for luxuries that the dominant race was in the habit of enjoying; taking care of their own personal needs, dreams, and goals would be no problem.  After all they had many years of practice.  What do you think?