Whether it’s via their tone, topic, or tenor, certain works just say “America.” Here is one such title, suggested by Erin Carlson Mast, president and CEO of the Lincoln Presidential Foundation:
A House Built By Slaves: African American Visitors to the Lincoln White House by Jonathan W. White. “In her 2016 Democratic National Committee speech, Michelle Obama said, ‘I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.’ By using the first lady’s words in the title of his latest book, White reminds us the past is present,” says Mast. “This is not a collection of first-person accounts of people who shook hands with Lincoln. It’s a case study in how equal rights depend on equal access to elected leaders. We’re treated to story after story of people like Robert Smalls, Arnold Bertonneau, Jean Baptiste Roudanez, Bishop Daniel Payne, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, and others who used their newfound access to the president to advocate for freedom and civil rights face to face … In so doing, these men and women were able to push our nation a little closer to the ideals enumerated in the Declaration of Independence.”
Patriotic Picks is a monthly feature in partnership with the Washington Independent Review of Books.