“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 thoughts on ““Black Confederates in Gray”

  1. donshaffer

    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.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Levin

      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.

      Reply
  2. toby

    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.

    Reply
  3. toby

    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.

    Reply

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