Lincoln and Frederick Douglass
Black abolitionist leader and former slave Frederick Douglass believed that African Americans could achieve freedom and full citizenship only by participating in the war. Because Lincoln’s first concern was preserving the Union, he did not publicly support the recruitment of black soldiers until after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Following the proclamation Douglass recruited two regiments of black soldiers—in which two of his own sons served. Among the first black men to be invited to the White House, Douglass met with Lincoln to address issues concerning unequal pay and treatment of African American soldiers and other matters.
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