letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Do Not Rename Lincoln High School

Editor:

I think that you should write an expose in the next issue of the Richmond Review on the machinations by San Francisco School Board with regard to the renaming of several San Francisco schools for unjust causes.

Herein anticipated actions by the elected School Board members would constitute a clear violation of the Brown Act by committing $10 million of public funds without an adequate public hearing on the basis for such expenditures. The apparent Board plan utilizes a so-called “blue-ribbon” panel to determine by consensus the adequate basis for renaming several schools in San Francisco as a result of individual panel members’ detailed historical research into dozens of historical figures previously so honored. The Board appointed panel included Mr. Sanchez, President of the Board, who attended only the first meeting of the panel on January 30, 2020, and thereafter, participated in none of the several subsequent public Zoom meetings of the panel.

Furthermore, there was no public discussion in any of the Zoom meetings posted online regarding the basis for dishonoring individual historic names, especially that of President Abraham Lincoln – there were only public “consensus votes” condemning important historical figures so-honored in the past by the citizens of San Francisco. I believe that the full Board will simply approve, with little or no discussion, the “blue-ribbon” panel’s carefully researched recommendations for individual school name changes, and then commit by a vote of the elected San Francisco School Board members to appropriate the expenditure of $10 million of public funds, and thereby, unjustly and unfairly dishonor the character and reputation of men such as President Abraham Lincoln and President George Washington by renaming San Francisco public schools named in their honor.

Mr. Quentin Kopp in his commentary piece in the November issue of the Richmond Review made the following statement regarding the San Francisco School Board process for consideration of renaming several public schools in San Francisco for just cause:

“Appalling is the word best descriptive of the Board of Education which, confronting a multi-million dollar deficit and virus impediments to classroom instruction, plans to change the names of 44 San Francisco public schools, including Washington, Lincoln, Lowell, Mission, Balboa, Presidio, Alamo, Clarendon, Commodore Sloat, Ulloa, Sutro, Sheridan, Sherman, Feinstein, Lakeshore, Jefferson, Noriega, and Garfield (don’t forget El Dorado!). A committee including one non-resident and four Native Americans has so recommended. The estimated renaming cost is $10 million.”

I was entirely unaware of this San Francisco School renaming process until alerted by a story in the San Francisco Chronicle titled “S.F. might change 44 school names, renouncing Washington, Lincoln and even Dianne Feinstein” – by Jill Tucker, Oct. 15, 2020. But subsequent thereto, I went online and reviewed each and every one of the 10 public Zoom meetings regarding the panel’s process for fairly examining the basis of individual schools renaming. In particular, I was most concerned for panel’s recommendation in their last public online meeting that both Washington High School (in the Richmond district) and Abraham Lincoln High School (in the Sunset district) be renamed for just and equitable cause.

I am an avid member and participant of the Lincoln Discussion Symposium online. As I did my research of the process for this “blue ribbon” panel for recommendations to be made to the School Board itself, I have made several posts about this unfair and unjust process. I have copied over the individual posts that I have made regarding the proposed renaming of Abraham Lincoln High School at the end of this email.

There are several revelations contained within the document that may be of interest to you. For instance, one public commentator made a comment about the unfairness inflicted upon President George Washington. The facilitator (a first grade teacher in the San Francisco School District, Jeremiah Jefferies) cut her off. In this same Zoom meeting, a panel member raised the issue of hiring American historians to review the panel’s final recommendations for renaming of particular San Francisco schools. The same panel facilitator abruptly informed the panelist that there were be no appropriation of School District funds for such an expenditure.

Another time, a different panel member made the point that none of the panel members had been forwarded any of the emails from the public that the administrators for the panel process had received (thereby, insulating the panel from considering any public comments regarding the fairness of the school renaming process). Also, interesting to note is the fact that the single member of the San Francisco School Board appointed to the panel by the full Board of Education (elected San Francisco Board President, Mark Sanchez) had attended only one of eleven public meetings of the Renaming of San Francisco Schools Recommendations panel, the first non-Zoom meeting of the panel held on January 30, 2020. (This fact is confirmed by the panel’s meeting minutes on attendance.)

One of the posts that I made was a copy of the following email that I sent to the office of San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Nov. 2, 2020:

Subject line of email reads: Renaming of Abraham Lincoln High School by SF Board of Education.

Dear San Francisco Mayor London Breed,

As I understand the situation, the SF Board of Education Committee is citing Lincoln’s involvement in the Dakota Uprising as their source of meeting the criteria listed.

The following is Lincoln’s Dec. 11, 1862 statement to the Senate on the Indians to be executed:

Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on the one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I caused a careful examination of the records of trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females. Contrary to my expectations, only two of this class were found. I then directed a further examination, and a classification of all who were proven to have participated in massacres, as distinguished from participation in battles. This class numbered forty, and included the two convicted of female violation. One of the number is strongly recommended by the commission which tried them for commutation to ten years’ imprisonment. I have ordered the other thirty-nine to be executed on Friday, the 19th instant.

Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 265 of the 303 Dakota men condemned. He also later pardoned one of the 39 mentioned in the letter to the Senate after evidence came to his attention questioning the man’s guilt.

After the 1864 midterm election, Minnesota Senator Alexander Ramsey told Lincoln that Republicans could have gotten a larger electoral majority in the state if Lincoln had allowed the execution of more Indians.

Lincoln told Ramsey, simply: “I could not afford to hang men for votes.”

Episcopal Bishop Henry B. Whipple lobbied the president to reform the corrupt Indian agency system. In the spring of 1862, the bishop had recommended more humane treatment of the Minnesota Sioux. Lincoln promptly asked the secretary of the Interior to investigate, which he did and suggested numerous reforms.

The president told a friend that Whipple “came here the other day and talked with me about the rascality of this Indian business until I felt it down to my boots.”

President Lincoln pledged to Bishop Whipple that “If we get through this war, and if I live, this Indian system shall be reformed.”

President Abraham Lincoln made it through the war but did not live long enough thereafter to reform the Indian system as he wanted to do.

Mayor Breed, please put a stop to this travesty of justice in renaming Abraham Lincoln High School for clearly invalid and unjust reasons.

Yours truly,
David Lockmiller

I did not receive a response to this email from the Mayor’s office.

Mr. Durand, if you need more information from me, please do not hesitate to ask. I would be willing to work with you on this project as best that I am able to do so.

David Lockmiller

P.S.: Professor Michael Burlingame was the winner of the 2010 Lincoln Prize for his two-volume work on Lincoln, titled “Abraham Lincoln: A Life.” Professor Burlingame devoted five pages of his scholarly work to the 1862 Dakota Sioux Indian uprising and the subsequent actions taken by President Lincoln, titled “Magnanimity: Dealing the Minnesota Sioux Uprising.” (“Abraham Lincoln: A Life,” Vol. Two, pages 480-84.)

The introductory first paragraph contains the following important historical fact: “They (the Dakota Sioux Indians) killed hundreds and drove over 30,000 from their homes. It was the bloodiest massacre of American civilians on U.S. soil prior to September 11, 2001.”

I would be willing to bet one “Abraham Lincoln” (i.e., a $5 bill) that there is not a single member of the Renaming of Schools Panel, appointed by authority of the elected San Francisco School Board, that is aware of this important historical fact regarding President Abraham Lincoln’s actions in consequence of the 1862 Dakota Sioux Indian uprising.

11 replies »

  1. The following is the answer to a trivia question posted today on the Lincoln Discussion Symposium:

    The quote comes from a lecture [Joshua] Speed delivered which was published in 1884.

    Speed told the following story to explain why he included “bird” in his statement about Lincoln’s tender heart:

    “Six gentlemen, I being one, Lincoln, Baker, Hardin, and others were riding along a country road. We were strung along the road two and two together. We were passing through a thicket of wild plum and crab-apple trees. A violent windstorm had just occurred. Lincoln and Hardin were behind. There were two young birds by the roadside too young to fly…. The old bird was fluttering about and wailing as a mother ever does for her babes. Lincoln stopped, hitched his horse, caught the birds, hunted the nest and placed them in it. The rest of us rode on to a creek, and while our horses were drinking Hardin rode up. “Where is Lincoln?” said one. “Oh, when I saw him last he had two little birds in his hand hunting for their nest.” In perhaps an hour he came. They laughed at him. He said with much emphasis, “Gentlemen, you may laugh, but I could not have slept well tonight if I had not saved those birds. Their cries would have rung in my ears.”

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  2. My Letter to the Editor, at the beginning of the second paragraph, reads:

    “Herein anticipated actions by the elected School Board members would constitute a clear violation of the Brown Act by committing $10 million of public funds without an adequate public hearing on the basis for such expenditures. The apparent Board plan utilizes a so-called “blue-ribbon” panel to determine by consensus the adequate basis for renaming several schools in San Francisco as a result of individual panel members’ detailed historical research into dozens of historical figures previously so honored.”

    SFUSD School Names Advisory Committee
    Minutes – 1/30/2020

    • Brown Act orientation – Under The Brown Act, a meeting is defined as any occasion in which a majority of the voting members of the board come together at the same time and location to “hear, discuss, deliberate or take action on any matter that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.”

    Laura Dudnick, the public relations manager for the school district, said in an email:

    “The panel has gone through a process to set standards for why the name of a school would be changed, to research to the best of their ability the backgrounds of the individuals or places that are namesakes for a school, and analyzed those under the panel’s established guiding principles. From this process, the panel generated 42 schools covering 44 campuses that it intends to recommend to the board.”

    My Letter to the Editor, at the end of the second paragraph, reads:

    I believe that the full Board will simply approve, with little or no discussion, the “blue-ribbon” panel’s carefully researched recommendations for individual school name changes, and then commit by a vote of the elected San Francisco School Board members to appropriate the expenditure of $10 million of public funds, and thereby, unjustly and unfairly dishonor the character and reputation of men such as President Abraham Lincoln and President George Washington by renaming San Francisco public schools named in their honor.

    Mr. Quentin Kopp in his commentary piece in the November issue of the Richmond Review made the following statement regarding the San Francisco School Board process for consideration of renaming several public schools in San Francisco for just cause:

    “Appalling is the word best descriptive of the Board of Education which, confronting a multi-million dollar deficit and virus impediments to classroom instruction, plans to change the names of 44 San Francisco public schools . . . . The estimated renaming cost is $10 million.”

    I agree with Mr. Kopp’s assessment of the situation.

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  3. Doris Kearns Goodwin refers to Leo Tolstoy in her book, Team of Rivals, at page 747, as “the greatest writer of the age.” On page 748 of her book, she quotes Leo Tolstoy’s opinion on the subject of President Abraham Lincoln’s greatness:

    Tolstoy went on to observe, “This little incident proves how largely the name of Lincoln is worshipped throughout the world and how legendary his personality has become. Now, why was Lincoln so great that he over-shadows all other national heroes? He really was not a great general like Napoleon or Washington; he was not such a skillful statesman as Gladstone or Frederick the Great; but his supremacy expresses itself altogether in his peculiar moral power and in the greatness of his character.

    “Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical French-man, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his country—bigger than all the Presidents together.

    “We are still too near to his greatness,” Tolstoy concluded, “but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and too powerful for the common understanding; just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us.”

    (Goodwin’s Source: Leo Tolstoy, quoted in The World, New York, February 7, 1908.)

    I agree whole-heartedly with these words uttered by Leo Tolstoy.

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  4. The following is the complete post that I made on the Lincoln Discussion Symposium website on November 19, 2020:

    Post #39, 11-19-2020.
    The August 12, 2020 meeting of the Renaming Panel was both very informative and very uninformative.

    According to the minutes of the previous meeting, the July 29, Meeting Agenda item #5 – the “Selection of school Names to be considered for renaming” – “was tabled due to time restrictions.” There was no public discussion at the July 29, 2020 Zoom public meeting of placing the name of Abraham Lincoln, or any other name, on the “Yes” list.

    The following are meeting notes that I made regarding this key August 12, 2020 public Zoom meeting of the Renaming panel.

    August 12, 2020 meeting notes: [this was a hyperlink to the online public Zoom meeting]

    @ 37:00 mark and forward, discussion about criteria basics for name change and possibly having historians coming in before panel to discuss various names. The panel’s facilitator informed the panel member that there would be no appropriation for historians.

    @39:50 “judge and jury” discussion

    @42:50 committee member says that the members have not been receiving emails from the public.

    @54:00 beginning discussion of Abraham Lincoln

    @55:08 a big yes and no discussion and a laugh from the facilitator

    Public comment at October 7, 2020 meeting @ 9:10 from Father John Chesterman, class of 1949 at Abraham Lincoln High School, asking why the name is being changed.

    1. Next Steps and Future Meetings
    • Committee agreed by consensus to extend deadline for schools to submit alternative names from 11/15 to 12/18
    • Panel will not meet in December as previously scheduled, but will now reconvene as a full group on January 6, 2020

    P.S. Yesterday, I wrote the following email to the address provided for the public by the Renaming Committee

    Subject: Renaming of Abraham Lincoln High School

    Hi, to whom it may concern,

    I am interested in accessing the workpapers of the San Francisco Board of Education – Renaming of Schools Committee for the renaming of Abraham Lincoln High School.

    How do I do this online?

    Yours truly,
    David Lockmiller
    ________________________________________
    “So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history.” — Plutarch

    The Plutarch quotation is my signature on all of my posts.

    I never received a response to my email sent to the administrators for the Renaming of Schools Panel.

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  5. RE: In San Francisco, Virus is Contained but Schools Are Still Closed – Post #40, 12-15-20

    RE: In San Francisco, Virus is Contained but Schools Are Still Closed – Post #32, 11-16-20

    Guiding Principles for SFUSD School Names Advisory Committee
    Approved by Committee on July 17, 2020

    Guiding Principles:
    For identifying school names to be changed, the committee will use any of the following criteria:
    We will seek to change the names of schools that are named for:
    Second item listed: Slave owners or participants in enslavement.

    It is indisputable that General and President George Washington was a slave owner.

    Lincoln Discussion Symposium Post by David Lockmiller
    RE: In San Francisco, Virus is Contained but Schools Are Still Closed – Post #38. 11-18-20
    Before the start of each Zoom meeting of the Renaming of Schools Committee, there is a short period of time allocated to accept public comments. For the August 12, 2020 meeting, an older lady was accepted to speak. When she did speak, she spoke critically of the Renaming of Schools Committee’s evidence evaluation and consideration process. She began her public comments at “12:30”.

    The lady’s prepared comments from which she obviously read, particularly relating to the efficacy of the School Board panel’s renaming process, began at “13:00”and were as follows:

    “My comments today are to make noise(?) because of what John Lewis would call “Good Trouble.” Because I have seen something in the working papers, which only include negative comments. To me, this is akin to a trial in which there is no defense and only the prosecutors are allowed to present their case. And their argument leapfrogs over to the jurors and sentencing. For example, I think that it’s appalling, and shall I say, maybe even outrageous, that the working papers of this committee make no mention of George Washington’s leading the Continental Army at Delaware and Valley Forge. And he was the first one to sign our Constitution and was our first President. Washington . . .” [At “13:54”, the panel’s facilitator cut her off, by saying “Emily (?), you’re out of time.” I could see on my computer screen that the facilitator had been closely monitoring her permitted amount of time to make comments.] Emily continued briefly: “Without these men, we would become an aristocracy with a King.” [“14:04”]

    No member of the panel made any comment regarding the lady’s important observations and opinion regarding the renaming process justification. The San Francisco Board of Education -Renaming of Schools Committee simply moved forward with its important work that day for the next one hour and 16 minutes.

    Pope Francis in a November 26, 2020 New York Times opinion piece wrote: “It is all too easy for some to take an idea — in this case, for example, personal freedom — and turn it into an ideology, creating a prism through which they judge everything.”

    Regarding General and President George Washington and many other historical names, the Guiding Principles listed for SFUSD School Names Advisory Committee, approved by Committee on July 17, 2020, is the “prism through which they have judged everything.”

    This short list of Guiding Principles specifically includes, “slave owners or participants in enslavement.” It is indisputable that General and President George Washington was a slave owner. Therefore, President George Washington is guilty as charged.

    Never mind that as Emily stated in the short time permitted by the Panel’s facilitator: “I think that it’s appalling, and shall I say, maybe even outrageous, that the working papers of this committee make no mention of George Washington’s leading the Continental Army at Delaware and Valley Forge. And he was the first one to sign our Constitution and was our first President.”

    Hence, judged through these simple Guiding Principles “prism” alone, the “blue ribbon” Renaming of Schools Panel will recommend to the elected members of the School Board in a January 6, 2021 scheduled Panel meeting that the names of Washington High School, Abraham Lincoln High School, and 42 other schools within the San Francisco Unified School District be renamed for just and sufficient cause.

    Thus, in reality, the judge and jury on this $10 million project for renaming 44 San Francisco Schools for just cause(s) is the “blue ribbon” panel appointed by the elected School Board members. These same panel members were also the ones who decided among themselves the severely constrained “Guiding Principles” and the “prism through which they judged everything.”

    Thereby, the purpose and function of the Brown Act will have been effectively thwarted. For it is only the elected members of the School Board who are subject to the provisions of the Brown Act. A meeting is defined under the Brown Act, as any occasion in which a majority of the voting members of the board come together at the same time and location to “hear, discuss, deliberate or take action on any matter that is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body.”

    The elected members of the San Francisco School Board have the exclusive governmental power to commit $10 million of San Francisco taxpayer funds for this project of renaming schools in San Francisco. In my opinion, the San Francisco School Board will merely rubber-stamp the recommendations of the Renaming of Schools Panel who they appointed, with little or no public discussion regarding the renaming of individual schools, including that of Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco.

    President Abraham Lincoln saved in his time as President of the United States the institution of democracy for this nation and the world. And, with his instigation and able assistance caused passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which Lincoln himself referred to as the “king’s cure” to the end of slavery in the United States.

    Amendment XIII, Section 1 reads simply: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Section 2 reads: “Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”

    I am not tilting against imaginary windmill-foes. The elected members of the San Francisco School Board intend to disgrace the name of President Abraham Lincoln and many other historical figures in this unfair and unjust manner.

    “So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history.” — Plutarch

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  6. I believe that there is “diabolical historical mischief” occurring in this instance.

    I believe that Jeremiah Jeffries, a first grade teacher who apparently has little or no educational training in American History, was hand-selected by the elected School Board members to be the Renaming of Schools Panel facilitator. He would be the one in control of the operations and agenda for all public meetings of the Panel.

    By consensus, the Panel established the following Guiding Principles for SFUSD School Names Advisory Committee. (Approved by Committee on July 17, 2020.)

    Guiding Principles: For identifying school names to be changed, the committee will use any of the following criteria. We will seek to change the names of schools that are named for:

    • Anyone directly involved in the colonization of people
    • Slave owners or participants in enslavement
    • Perpetuators of genocide or slavery
    • Those who exploit workers/people
    • Those who directly oppressed or abused women, children, queer or transgender people
    • Those connected to any human rights or environmental abuses
    • Those who are known racists and/or white supremacists and/or espoused racist beliefs

    No other character evidence need be or would be considered by the Panel members. A violation of any Guiding Principle would be both necessary and sufficient “to change the names of schools that are named” for any historical figures previously so honored by the citizens of San Francisco.

    Pope Francis in a November 26, 2020 New York Times opinion piece wrote: “It is all too easy for some to take an idea — in this case, for example, personal freedom — and turn it into an ideology, creating a prism through which they judge everything.”

    Regarding General and President George Washington and many other historical names, the Guiding Principles listed for SFUSD School Names Advisory Committee, is the “prism through which they have judged everything.”

    This short list of Guiding Principles specifically includes, “slave owners or participants in enslavement.” It is indisputable that General and President George Washington was a slave owner. Therefore, President George Washington is guilty as charged.

    Never mind that as Emily stated in the short time permitted by the Panel’s facilitator: “I think that it’s appalling, and shall I say, maybe even outrageous, that the working papers of this committee make no mention of George Washington’s leading the Continental Army at Delaware and Valley Forge. And he was the first one to sign our Constitution and was our first President.”

    More recently, the Presidents of five San Francisco High School Alumni Associations, who appear to have been alarmed by the proceedings of the Renaming of Schools Panel, issued a Press Release of their Letter to the San Francisco Unified School District (RICHMOND REVIEW — OCTOBER 12, 2020).

    These five Presidents of SF Schools Alumni Associations united in making three specific recommendations to correct what they perceived to be deficiencies in the Renaming of Schools Panel’s processes:

    1. Use professional historians applying verifiable data.
    2. Issue a written report why a school name might be changed so the community can make a considered decision.
    3. Suspend the current process until everyone can safely return to school sites for the robust and thoughtful conversations as directed in the original Board resolution.

    Obviously, the elected School Board members rejected all three of these recommendations made by the five San Francisco High School Alumni Associations on October 12, 2020 in the Renaming of Schools process by the Panel.

    President Abraham Lincoln’s case was different for the Renaming of Schools Panel. The charges against President Lincoln were issues of actual historical facts.

    Two charges were made against President Abraham Lincoln: First, President Lincoln had signed the execution orders for the Dakota 38, the largest mass execution of American Indians in the history of the United States. And, second, Abraham Lincoln was President of the United States when a Union officer in Colorado ordered that war crimes be committed by troops under his command against hundreds of defenseless Cheyanne and Arappapo Indians – men, women, and children.

    These are both false allegations of moral wrongs committed by President Abraham Lincoln against American Indians. Historians have proven these allegations to be false.

    I have made detailed defenses, in words of historians, against both charges in posts made on a Lincoln Discussion Symposium thread.

    Nonetheless, President Abraham Lincoln will be confirmed by the Panel to have violated on two occasions, at least one of the Panel’s strict guidelines for renaming of San Francisco Schools for just cause(s).

    There will be little or no evidence in the public record for the elected members of the San Francisco School Board to consider; and, most certainly, not in any of the public Zoom meeting Panel discussions on the issues of President Abraham Lincoln.

    I believe that the elected Board members will merely apply the rubber stamp of their public Brown Act approval and the deed is done. The name of President Abraham Lincoln will have been dishonored for unjust causes and there will no longer be an Abraham Lincoln High School in San Francisco, California, the city where I live.

    The members of the San Francisco School Board could have easily ordered the Panel to follow the “just and fair” procedural recommendations of the united five San Francisco High School Alumni Associations Presidents, but the elected members of the San Francisco School Board chose not to do so. The Panel is the tail; the elected School Board is the dog.

    “So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history.” — Plutarch

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  7. RE: In San Francisco, Virus is Contained but Schools Are Still Closed
    11-17-2020 Post #36

    The Sand Creek massacre (also known as the Chivington massacre, the battle of Sand Creek or the massacre of Cheyenne Indians) was a massacre of Cheyenne and Arapaho people by the U.S. Army in the American Indian Wars that occurred on November 29, 1864, when a 675-man force of the Third Colorado Cavalry] under the command of U.S. Army Colonel John Chivington attacked and destroyed a village of Cheyenne and Arapaho people in southeastern Colorado Territory, killing and mutilating an estimated 70–500 Native Americans, about two-thirds of whom were women and children. The location has been designated the Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site and is administered by the National Park Service. This was part of a series of events known as the Colorado War and was preceded by the Hungate [white family]massacre.

    Chivington and 425 men of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry rode to Fort Lyon arriving on November 28, 1864. Once at the fort, Chivington took command of 250 men of the 1st Colorado Cavalry and maybe as many as 12 men of the 1st Regiment New Mexico Volunteer Infantry, then set out for Black Kettle’s encampment. James Beckwourth, noted frontiersman, acted as guide for Chivington. The following morning, Chivington gave the order to attack. Two officers, Captain Silas Soule and Lieutenant Joseph Cramer, commanding Company D and Company K of the First Colorado Cavalry, refused to obey and told their men to hold fire.

    However, the rest of Chivington’s men immediately attacked the village. Ignoring the U.S. flag and a white flag that was run up shortly after the attack began, they murdered as many of the Indians as they could.

    I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces … With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors … By whom were they mutilated? By the United States troops …

    — John S. Smith, Congressional Testimony of Mr. John S. Smith, 1865

    Jis’ to think of that dog Chivington and his dirty hounds, up thar at Sand Creek. His men shot down squaws, and blew the brains out of little innocent children. You call sich soldiers Christians, do ye? And Indians savages? What der yer s’pose our Heavenly Father, who made both them and us, thinks of these things? I tell you what, I don’t like a hostile red skin any more than you do. And when they are hostile, I’ve fought ’em, hard as any man. But I never yet drew a bead on a squaw or papoose, and I despise the man who would.

    — Kit Carson to Col. James Rusling

    The critical and imperative question to ask in fairness and justice to the character and reputation of President Abraham Lincoln is this: What could President Abraham Lincoln have done beforehand to prevent war crimes being committed upon defenseless Native American Indians – men, women, and children – by Union soldiers following the orders and commands of a commissioned Union officer?

    The beginning of the American Civil War, in 1861, led to the organization of military forces in Colorado Territory. However, the attention of the Federal Government was firmly fixed on quelling the rebels in the South. As a result, there was no significant military protection of wagon trains, settlers, settlements, communication lines, and supply wagons in the region. By summer of 1864, nearly every stage was being attacked, emigrants were being cut off, and settlements were being raided continually. The settlers abandoned their farms and ranches and began seeking refuge in the major settlements such as Denver. A coordinated attack was carried out on August 8, 1864, where all the existing stage lines in the region were attacked. Between August 11 and September 7, Governor Evans sent multiple letters to Secretary of War Edward Stanton in an attempt to furnish military aid, but Stanton was unable to pull the Second Colorado Volunteers, led by Colonel Ford, off of the eastern Civil War front. As a result of the repeated calls for aid, authorization was granted to call up “one-hundred-days’ men” to form the Third Colorado Volunteers.

    In testimony before a Congressional committee investigating the massacre, Chivington claimed that as many as 500–600 Indian warriors were killed. Historian Alan Brinkley wrote that 133 Indians were killed, 105 of whom were women and children.White eye-witness John S. Smith reported that 70–80 Indians were killed, including 20–30 warriors, which agrees with Brinkley’s figure as to the number of men killed.

    Initially, the Sand Creek engagement was reported as a victory against a brave and numerous foe. Within weeks, however, witnesses and survivors began telling stories of a possible massacre. Several investigations were conducted – two by the military, and one by the Joint Committee on the Conduct of the War. The panel declared:

    As to Colonel Chivington, your committee can hardly find fitting terms to describe his conduct. Wearing the uniform of the United States, which should be the emblem of justice and humanity; holding the important position of commander of a military district, and therefore having the honor of the government to that extent in his keeping, he deliberately planned and executed a foul and dastardly massacre which would have disgraced the veriest savage among those who were the victims of his cruelty. Having full knowledge of their friendly character, having himself been instrumental to some extent in placing them in their position of fancied security, he took advantage of their in-apprehension and defenceless condition to gratify the worst passions that ever cursed the heart of man.

    Whatever influence this may have had upon Colonel Chivington, the truth is that he surprised and murdered, in cold blood, the unsuspecting men, women, and children on Sand creek, who had every reason to believe they were under the protection of the United States authorities, and then returned to Denver and boasted of the brave deed he and the men under his command had performed.

    In conclusion, your committee are of the opinion that for the purpose of vindicating the cause of justice and upholding the honor of the nation, prompt and energetic measures should be at once taken to remove from office those who have thus disgraced the government by whom they are employed, and to punish, as their crimes deserve, those who have been guilty of these brutal and cowardly acts.

    Statements taken by Major Edward W. Wynkoop and his adjutant substantiated the later accounts of survivors. These statements were filed with his reports and can be found in the Official Records of the War of the Rebellion, copies of which were submitted as evidence in the Joint Committee of the Conduct of the War and in separate hearings conducted by the military in Denver.

    During these investigations, numerous witnesses came forward with damning testimony, almost all of which was corroborated by other witnesses. One witness, Captain Silas Soule, who had ordered the men under his command not to fire their weapons, was murdered in Denver just weeks after offering his testimony.

    (Principal Source: Wikipedia on subject of Sand Creek massacre.)
    “So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history.” — Plutarch

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  8. In the Lincoln book “Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln by Distinguished Men of His Time,” collected and edited by Allen Thorndike Rice, Editor of the North American Review, (1888), in Chapter XXIX at pages 510-511, the witness E. W. Andrews wrote:

    When President Lincoln was on his way to the National Cemetery at Gettysburg, an old gentleman told him that his only son fell on Little Round Top at Gettysburg, and he was going to look at the spot.

    Mr. Lincoln replied:

    “You have been called on to make a terrible sacrifice for the Union, and a visit to that spot, I fear, will open your wounds afresh.

    “But, oh, my dear sir, if we had reached the end of such sacrifices, and had nothing left for us to do but to place garlands on the graves of those who have already fallen, we could give thanks even amidst our tears; but when I think of the sacrifices of life yet to be offered, and the hearts and homes yet to be made desolate, before this dreadful war is over, my heart is like lead within me, and I feel at times like hiding in deep darkness.”

    And, yet, President Abraham Lincoln carried on to save democracy for the world!

    “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

    Abraham Lincoln
    Gettysburg Address
    November 19, 1863

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  9. “Lincoln statue vandalized amid calls to rename namesake school, California cops say” – Sacramento Bee by BROOKE WOLFORD, DECEMBER 28, 2020

    Jeremiah Jeffries, a first grade teacher and chairman of the committee [to recommend renaming of San Francisco schools], said the task force members were all in agreement about renaming [Abraham Lincoln High] School, according to SF Gate. The recommendation has captured national attention, including President Trump’s, the outlet reported.

    “The history of Lincoln and Native Americans is complicated, not nearly as well known as that of the Civil War and slavery,” said Jeffries, according to SF Gate. “Lincoln, like the presidents before him and most after, did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to them outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”

    That’s the opinion of a dilettante President Abraham Lincoln historian, first grade teacher, and “chairman of the committee” who will be confirming on January 6, 2021 the committee’s recommendation to the elected members of the San Francisco School Board that Abraham Lincoln High School be renamed for just and equitable causes.

    “So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history.” – Plutarch

    I have previously addressed “the history of Lincoln and Native Americans” in this Letter to the Editor (See also posted comments on December 19 and December 21, 2020).

    Now, I address the school renaming committee chairman Jeremiah Jeffries’ statement herein regarding Black lives: “Lincoln did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to [him] outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”

    In order to counter this malicious statement, I present two contrary eye witness accounts from President Lincoln’s time, over a century and a half ago, Sojourner Truth and Frederick Douglass.

    Sojourner Truth: “I must say, and I am proud to say, that I never was treated by anyone with more kindness and cordiality than were shown me by that great and good man, Abraham Lincoln, by the grace of God president for four years more.”

    Sojourner Truth, the slave preacher whom Mrs. Stowe has described as embodying all the elements of an African prophetess or sibyl, when over eighty years old, left her home, at Battlecreek, Michigan, with the unalterable purpose of seeing the Emancipator of her race before her death. She reached Washington the last of October, 1864. . . .

    He then arose, gave me his hand, made a bow, and said: “I am pleased to see you.”

    “I said to him: ‘Mr. President, when you first took your seat I feared you would be torn to pieces, for I likened you unto Daniel, who was thrown into the lions’ den; and if the lions did not tear you into pieces, I knew that it would be God that had saved you; and I said if He spared me I would see you before four years expired, and He has done so, and now I am here to see you for myself.’

    “He then congratulated me on my having been spared. Then, I said: ‘I appreciate you, for you are the best President who has ever taken the seat.’ He replied thus: ‘I expect you have reference to my having emancipated the slaves in my proclamation.’ . . . I then said: ‘I thank God that you were the instrument selected by Him and the people to do it.’

    “He then showed me the Bible presented to him by the colored people of Baltimore, of which you have heard. I have seen it for myself, and it is beautiful beyond description. After I had looked it over, I said to him: ‘This is beautiful indeed; the colored people have given this to the Head of the Government, and that Government once sanctioned laws that would not permit its people to learn enough to enable them to read this Book.’

    He took my little book, and with the hand that signed the death-warrant of slavery, he wrote as follows: — “For Aunty Sojourner Truth, Oct. 29, 1864. A. Lincoln.’

    (“Six Months at the White House,” F. B. Carpenter — pages 201 – 203.)

    Mr. Lincoln’s cordial reception of Frederick Douglass, the distinguished anti-slavery orator, also once a slave, was widely made known through that gentleman’s own account of it in one of his public lectures.

    In August or September, 1864, Mr. Douglass again visited Washington. The President heard of his being in the city, and greatly desiring a second conversation upon points on which he considered the opinion and advice of a man of Mr. Douglass’s antecedents valuable, he sent his carriage to the boarding-house where he was staying, with a request that Mr. D. would “come up and take a cup of tea” with him. The invitation was accepted; and probably never before, in our history, was the executive carriage employed to convey such a guest to the White House. Mr. Douglass subsequently remarked that “Mr. Lincoln was one of the few white men he ever passed an hour with, who failed to remind him in some way, before the interview terminated, that he was a ‘negro.’”

    (“Six Months at the White House,” F. B. Carpenter – page 204.)

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  10. To repeat:

    Jeremiah Jeffries said: “Lincoln . . . did not show through policy or rhetoric that Black lives ever mattered to [him] outside of human capital and as casualties of wealth building.”

    This is the same “1619 Project” rhetoric that has been debunked by leading President Abraham Lincoln scholars and historians.

    “On New Year’s day, 1865,”wrote a correspondent of the New York “Independent,” “a memorable incident occurred, of which the like was never before seen at the White House. I had noticed, at sundry times during the summer, the wild fervor and strange enthusiasm which our colored friends always manifest over the name of Abraham Lincoln. His name with them seems to be associated with that of his namesake, the Father of the Faithful. In the great crowds which gather from time to time in front of the White House, in honor of the President, none shout so loudly or so wildly, and swing their hats with such utter abandon, while their eyes re beaming with the intensest joy, as do these simple-minded and grateful people. I have often laughed heartily at these exhibitions. But the scene yesterday excited far other emotions. As I entered the door of the President’s House, I noticed groups of colored people gathered here and there, who seemed to watching earnestly the inpouring throng. For nearly two hours they hung around, until the crowd of white visitors began sensibly to diminish. Then they summoned up courage, and began timidly to approach the door. Some of them were richly and gayly dressed; some were in tattered garments, and others in the most fanciful and grotesque costume. All pressed eagerly forward. When they came into the presence of the President, doubting as to their reception, the feelings of the poor creatures overcame them, and here the scene baffles my powers of description.

    “For two long hours Mr. Lincoln had been shaking hands of the ‘sovereigns,’ and had become excessively weary, and his grasp languid; but here his nerves rallied at the unwonted sight, and he welcomed this motley crowd with a heartiness that made them wild with exceeding joy. They laughed and wept, and wept and laughed,– exclaiming, through their blinding tears: ‘God bless you!’ God bless Abraham Lincoln!’ ‘God bress Massa Linkum!’ Those who witnessed this scene will not soon forget it. For a long distance down the Avenue, on my way home, I heard fast young men, cursing the President for this act; but all the way the refrain rang in my ears,– ‘God bless Abraham Lincoln!’

    A southern correspondent of the New York “Tribune,” in Charleston, South Carolina, the week following the assassination, wrote: “I never saw such sad faces, or heard such heavy hearts beatings, as here in Charleston the day the dreadful news came! The colored people – the native loyalists – were liked children bereaved of an only and loved parent.”

    (“Six Months at the White House,” F. B. Carpenter — pages 205 – 207.)

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  11. Last night, I wrote the following email to the San Francisco School Renaming Advisory Committee which I initially intended to read in the Public Comments portion of the January 6, 2021 online meeting of the Committee. I had a problem with Zoom for some unknown reason and I could not be heard. All the members of the Committee are supposed to have access to the emails received from the Public by the Committee’s administrative support staff (which has been reported as a problem by the Committee members in the past).

    My name is David Lockmiller. I am a 32-year resident of the Richmond District. I submitted a Letter to the Editor of the Richmond Review that was published online on December 9, 2020, titled “DO NOT RENAME LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL.” Therein, I presented the reasons for my disapproval of this Committee’s evaluation process regarding President Abraham Lincoln’s actions in the “Dakota 38” controversy, the largest mass execution of Native Americans in the history of the United States.

    The following is Lincoln’s Dec. 11, 1862 statement to the Senate on the Native Americans to be executed:

    “Anxious to not act with so much clemency as to encourage another outbreak on the one hand, nor with so much severity as to be real cruelty on the other, I caused a careful examination of the records of trials to be made, in view of first ordering the execution of such as had been proved guilty of violating females. Contrary to my expectations, only two of this class were found. I then directed a further examination, and a classification of all who were proven to have participated in massacres, as distinguished from participation in battles. This class numbered forty, and included the two convicted of female violation. One of the number is strongly recommended by the commission which tried them for commutation to ten years’ imprisonment. I have ordered the other thirty-nine to be executed on Friday, the 19th instant.”

    It is uncontested and indisputable that President Lincoln signed the execution death warrants for 39 Native Americans, as required by law of the President. However, it is also uncontested and indisputable that President Lincoln commuted the death sentences of 265 of the 303 Dakota men condemned as a result of the careful review of the facts of each Native American’s case . He also later pardoned one of the 39 mentioned in the letter to the Senate after evidence came to his attention questioning the man’s guilt.

    After the 1864 midterm election, Minnesota Senator Alexander Ramsey told Lincoln that Republicans could have gotten a larger electoral majority in the state if Lincoln had allowed the execution of more Indians. Lincoln told Ramsey, simply: “I could not afford to hang men for votes.”

    Professor Michael Burlingame, Lincoln Studies at University of Illinois, Springfield, was the winner of the 2010 Lincoln Prize for his two-volume work on Lincoln, titled “Abraham Lincoln: A Life.” Professor Burlingame devoted five pages of this scholarly work to the 1862 Dakota Sioux Indian uprising and the subsequent actions taken by President Lincoln, titled “Magnanimity: Dealing With the Minnesota Sioux Uprising.” (“Abraham Lincoln: A Life,” Vol. Two, pages 480-484.)

    The introductory first paragraph contains the following important relevant historical fact regarding the “Dakota 38” that the members of this San Francisco Schools Renaming Committee should have already carefully considered, but I sincerely doubt if a single member of this Committee is even aware of this historical fact.

    “They (the Dakota Sioux Native Americans) killed hundreds and drove over 30,000 from their homes. It was the bloodiest massacre of American civilians on U.S. soil prior to September 11, 2001.”

    Yours truly,
    David Lockmiller

    “So very difficult a matter is it to trace and find out the truth of anything by history.” — Plutarch

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