Having said that, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was the cornerstone from which African Americans have been able to build upon - through many long years of struggle and oppression - to reach a point in this country where we now have a black President.
I think it's interesting that this is coming up at the moment, as I'm sure many of you have heard former President Jimmy Carter's comments on the state of racism, now, as it relates to an apparent backlash to President Obama. There is a discussion to be had right there, and it may need to start w/the motives of every white person that voted for or against our man at the top. People are already dismissing Carter and saying that he's bringing up a non-issue to guilt Pres. Obama's detractors into towing the "leftist line". I don't personally care where anyone stands politically, but no matter how uncomfortable the subject may be, racial motivation is not a non-issue. To paraphrase a slightly unrelated line: We haven't come that far, baby.
So, to close this out, I agree that Abraham Lincoln's views on race are important for this reason: no matter what he actually did to further the cause of racial equality in America, condescension is still dehumanizing, and even when it isn't explicitly expressed (as is mostly the case in this day and age), it is still an attitude that is acutely felt.