An exploration of President Lincoln's visits with African Americans invited to White House during America's most divided and war-torn years. Associate Professor Jonathan White illuminates why Lincoln's welcome of African Americans to the White House transformed the trajectory of race relations in the United States, using the White House as the stage to empower Black voices in America's most divisive era.
... a more complete picture of Lincoln ... In the current climate of reassessing how America tells its history, A House Built by Slaves illustrates how Lincoln walked among his people as a common, flawed man ... White masterfully shows the African American communities’ efforts to influence Lincoln in obtaining full rights for their people, and his choice to use their language of the day makes for a good read. Historians and Lincoln fans will enjoy this accurate retelling of the epoch where America almost came apart at the seams.
... [an] important book ... White does two things especially well to elevate his book above what some readers might consider academic minutia that would appeal only to a limited audience of Lincoln scholars. First, this is not a paean to our 16th president ... White does not dismiss the criticisms and gives them consideration, but through research and a lens of perspective, he is able to diffuse most of the anger and shows quite effectively that even Frederick Douglass, one of the most outspoken critics when Lincoln came into office, became one of Lincoln’s greatest advocates after visiting him in the White House ... The stories of these guests are fleshed out and they are placed in a historical context that is fascinating and informative ... A House Built By Slaves is a 'worthy one' in the canon of Lincoln scholarship and shows White to be an able and welcome guide in preserving his legacy.