ISSUE THREE FALL 2017
The Civil War is a resource for those who face the future with open eyes. Lincoln came to office sharing the widespread belief in the natural superiority of whites, supporting the expulsion of free black people from the country, and willing to protect slavery to save the Union. Emancipation was a war measure, forced on him by necessity. Yet that step, and the enlistment of black soldiers, changed the War and changed him, so that when some called upon him to rescind it to save the Union, he refused. In the summer of 1864, expecting that the “mad cry” for peace would bring about a Democratic victory and a premature end to the war, “which would leave in slavery all who had not come within our lines,” he proposed a plan to organize a “band of scouts, composed of colored men, whose business should be somewhat after the original plan of John Brown, to go into the rebel states, beyond the lines of our Armies, and carry the news of emancipation, and urge the slaves to come within our boundaries.”
Lincoln’s growth represented millions’, including the hundred thousand Kentuckians who fought for the Union. Today Pike County, Kentucky is ninety-eight percent white; it has a devastated economy and a big drug problem; eighty percent of its residents voted for Trump. Recently, so-called white nationalists held a gathering there, aiming to establish a white-supremacist stronghold. One of the articles in this issue, “Into the Hollows,” is a report from someone who campaigned for Barack Obama in Pike County in 2008; it provides raw material for those seeking to understand how popular consciousness can change in a short time.
You hold in your hands the third issue of a unique publication: political but not absorbed in elections or program, literary but not inflated, scholarly but not scholastic.