Statement by Mark Charles regarding the San Francisco School Board’s decision to deem Abraham Lincoln (among others) as not worthy of having schools named after them
I support the San Francisco school board’s decision to remove President Abraham Lincoln’s name from its schools. The hanging of the Dakota 38 (1862), the Sand Creek massacre (1864) and the Navajo Long Walk (1863-68) resulted in the deaths of thousands of Native peoples and all took place under the Lincoln administration. These atrocities were not random but occurred within two and a half years of his signing of the Pacific Railway Act and the Homestead Act in 1862 as the US Government was aggressively ethnically cleansing lands in order to clear the way for the transcontinental railway and Manifest Destiny.
On top of that President Lincoln’s defining legacy, the Thirteenth Amendment, doesn’t actually abolish slavery, as it states:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.“
The clause, ‘except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted’ results in the 13th Amendment merely redefining and codifying slavery under the jurisdiction of the criminal justice system. The US criminal justice system today incarcerates people at the highest rate of any country in the world, and it incarcerates People of Color at three to five times the rate it incarcerates white people.
At the Lincoln Memorial there hangs a quote honoring President Lincoln for his thoughts on the Union:
“I would save the Union. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, it is not to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.“
The Lincoln Memorial honors President Lincoln with that specific quote stating his belief that “Black lives don’t matter.”
I cannot speak to every name the San Francisco school board choose to remove from their schools, but as far as Abraham Lincoln is concerned, he was a blatant white supremacist and one of the most genocidal President’s in US history and is not worthy of the honor of having schools named after him.
Chapters 9 and 10 of the book I co-authored, ‘Unsettling Truths: The ongoing, dehumanizing legacy of the Doctrine of Discovery’ (IVP 2019) contains in-depth analysis of the white supremacist and ethnic cleansing policies of Abraham Lincoln. I have also spoken at length regarding President Lincoln’s legacy in numerous speeches regarding the Doctrine of Discovery, most recently during my 2020 Independent campaign for President of the United States (available online).
Looking forward to your stop in Seattle on Oct. 13 at Seattle Mennonite Church. Will bring my copy I bought two years ago. I refer to it frequently. I found your discussion about trauma revealing and have attempted to expand on it in discussions and writings. Thank you.