Republican school bill mocked for claim Frederick Douglass debated Lincoln

Virginia bill banning teaching of ‘divisive concepts’ confused black civil rights campaigner with white senator Stephen Douglas

A Republican bill to ban the teaching of “divisive concepts” in schools in Virginia ran into ridicule when among historical events deemed suitable for study, it described a nonexistent debate between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass.

Lincoln did engage in a series of historic debates hinged on the issue of slavery, in the Illinois Senate campaign of 1858. But he did so against Stephen Douglas, a senator who had ties to slavery – not against Frederick Douglass, the great campaigner for the abolition of slavery who was once enslaved himself.

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