Here is another news item concerning the commemoration of Weary Clyburn which will be held today in Monroe, North Carolina. I am not going to comment extensively as the story is well known to my readers, but here are a few highlights.
Earl L. ljames, who is a curator at the North Carolina Museum of History and who apparently used to be employed at the North Carolina Department of Archives and History believes that, “His is a hero’s service…. Him serving is really an incredible story.” By the way if ljames and members of the SCV and UDC are truly interested in honoring the service of North Carolina’s slaves than why not recognize the 5,000 plus that joined the Union army which has been documented extensively by Richard M. Reid in his new book, Freedom for Themselves: North Carolina’s Black Soldiers in the Civil War Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2008).
ljames goes on to suggest that “…this whole event vicariously honors the thousands of ‘colored Confederates’ who served in various capacities and never had a voice to express it.” For someone associated with a museum, and who one assumes has some credentials in the field, this is truly an irresponsible statement. Even more ridiculous is the claim that Weary Clyburn and the son of the man who owned him were “best friends”, which is “not an uncommon story.” What does “uncommon” actually mean in this context and what does the concept of friendship mean between slave and slaveowner?
I don’t have the patience to go on. All I can say is that we can be thankful that ljames no longer works at the NCDAH. Apparently, Clyburn’s descendants will hold a news conference following the celebration. I will keep you posted.