“Black Confederates in Gray”

I‘ve seen this video around, but have never seen any clips from it until now. This has got to be one of the most convoluted and confusing documentaries that I’ve ever seen. After the glaring mistake of identifying March 1864 as the year that the Confederate Congress authorized the enlistment of slaves and within six minutes the video moves freely between discussions of slave loyalty to the master class before the war to slaves volunteering for service in the Confederate army to slaves serving as labor in the army.  I have no idea who is being interviewed and I suspect they have done little or no research on the subject – at least nothing that I could find.  The director, Stan Armstrong, is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (what a surprise).  Click here for a short article on Armstrong’s interest in the subject.  It turns out his great-great grandfather “took his black son to war.”  I have no clue what that is supposed to mean. Enjoy.

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7 comments… add one

  • donshaffer Sep 30, 2009

    I think what Armstrong means is his ancestor took the slave he fathered to war as a body servant. In any case, thanks for sharing this video. It'll give me some neo-Confederate material to use when I teach my Civil War course during our Interim term.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 30, 2009

      That is what Armstrong no doubt should have said, but he is probably holding tight to a more comforting set of assumptions about his great-great grandfather. This is perfect for analysis in the classroom I am going to use it as well.

  • acwresearcher Sep 30, 2009

    Kevin,

    I checked out this fellow's website (http://www.desertrosefilms.7p.com/index.html), and found an interesting item. It seems he has worked with the well-published and extremely insightful historian Johnny Rotten. Yes, THAT Johnny Rotten. :/

  • msimons Oct 2, 2009

    I would love to watch for myself this film from the 1938 Reunion.

  • toby Oct 5, 2009

    Not sure about the point of it all … some blacks owned slaves .. what's new in that? Southern soldiers took slaves with them as servants, ok we knew that.

    I notice Patrick Cleburne is being elevated into an Emancipist hero for “Black Confederates”. Cleburne was from a middle class Anglo-Irish Protestant family. His father owned a modest estate with some dozens of Irish Catholic peasant tenants in Ireland. In and around the Famine years, these impoverished masses of tenants were fertile recruiting grounds for the British Army (in which Cleburne served).

    I think Cleburne noted how a permanent underclass, nominally “free”, whose economic interests were at odds with their masters, could still provide excellent soldiers for the state. Cleburne did not see “liberated” slaves as equals – it is clear from his own comments he saw the blacks becoming as unfree as the tenants clinging to their potato patches on his father's estate. He was thus more a prophet of Jim Crow than of Emancipation.

  • toby Oct 5, 2009

    Not sure about the point of it all … some blacks owned slaves .. what's new in that? Southern soldiers took slaves with them as servants, ok we knew that.

    I notice Patrick Cleburne is being elevated into an Emancipist hero for “Black Confederates”. Cleburne was from a middle class Anglo-Irish Protestant family. His father owned a modest estate with some dozens of Irish Catholic peasant tenants in Ireland. In and around the Famine years, these impoverished masses of tenants were fertile recruiting grounds for the British Army (in which Cleburne served).

    I think Cleburne noted how a permanent underclass, nominally “free”, whose economic interests were at odds with their masters, could still provide excellent soldiers for the state. Cleburne did not see “liberated” slaves as equals – it is clear from his own comments he saw the blacks becoming as unfree as the tenants clinging to their potato patches on his father's estate. He was thus more a prophet of Jim Crow than of Emancipation.

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