By A. Lincoln (as told to Darryl Levings) McClatchy Newspapers
printed in the Albuquerque Journal Friday Nov. 7, 2008
"Only the almighty knows the depth of the well of misery that was poured out upon the slave, but also later on his grandchildren. All those burning crosses, the lynchings, the indignity of Jim Crow, the slurs and the hate. How they did suffer.
You must know how it shook my soul when that Georgia preacher, Martin Luther King Jr., became one more to fall to the assassin's bullet. "I have a dream." he had called out, right out front here. My dream was much the same, of divisions erased, of unity and prosperity for all Americans.
I can remember another outstanding fellow, my friend Frederick Douglass. Last time I saw him on earth was at the reception after my second inauguration. I heard later that policemen actually tried to push him out a White House window. Some thought a black man shouldn't even be in the White House, unless a servant.
Now, it is so fitting and proper that a man with African blood be the rightful resident of that old house.
I have a notion he and his wife may find some ghosts there, some of those young Union boys who bivouacked on the ground floor and who shed blood later. Perhaps even Willie is there. He will delight in the company of those two little ladies running happily up and down the halls.
I tell you that I've been watching this young man, and I have been impressed. Reminds me of myself some. Both tall, skinny politicians from Illinois, although not born there. Did you know that I was branded an "infidel" by a Methodist preacher when I first ran? How things do not change.
Both of us were helped along mightily by the Chicago crowd, including the Tribune. Both of us were ambitious, were considered short on experience. Both of us were critical of needless militarism beyond our borders.
I like his calm. And doesn't he give a fine speech, a thing folks used to say about me. That little effort at Gettysburg certainly served me better than any man should expect.
I think I still have that envelope somewhere about my person. Ah, yes, here it is..."dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Right there in the first line.
Now, doesn't that still have a pleasant ring to it?"