Commemorating the 150th Anniversary of John Brown’s Raid – SCV Style

The Virginia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans has issued the following press release in recognition of “Hayward Shepherd Day”:

PRESS RELEASE : SCV DECLARES HAYWARD SHEPHERD DAY

The Army of Northern Virginia of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will kick off the Sesquicentennial of the War Between the States on Saturday, October 3, in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, by holding their annual meeting beginning at 10:30 at the Block house (John Brown’s Fort). The purpose of the meeting is to announce that October 16 will be known as HAYWARD SHEPHERD DAY, honoring the unfortunate black citizen who met his death as John Brown’s first victim 150 years ago.  Hayward, a faithful employee and Baggage Master of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was murdered in furtherance of John Brown’s nefarious scheme to capture the arsenal in that famous city. The SCV will honor Hayward Shepherd by placing a wreath at the 1931 marker honoring him across from the Engine House where Brown’s raid ended. Mr. Richard Hines, a well known historian from Alexandria, Virginia, will discuss the real John Brown.

Many today try to whitewash Brown’s crimes and call him a martyr. Mr. Hines will discuss Brown’s true motivations and his association with a group of famous Northern abolitionists (the Secret 6) who financed his plot and encouraged him to murder and commit crimes against his fellow Americans. The public is welcome to come see the wreath laying and hear Mr. Hines speak. [my emphasis]

Hines is a former managing editor for Southern Partisan.  The SCV’s interest in Hayward Shepherd goes back to a joint project with the UDC to erect a statue commemorating Shepherd in 1931.  [See here, here, and here]  In choosing to begin their commemoration of the Civil War with this event the SCV has solidified its place as defenders of a Lost Cause that was lost long ago.

For those of you with a more serious interest in Civil War history check out the following events/links here, here, and here.

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12 comments… add one

  • bdsimpson Oct 10, 2009

    Will the speaker remind the audience that in the Dred Scott decision, Chief Justice Taney denied the possibility of black citizenship … and white southerners hailed the decision?

    And who is this “well-known” Richard Hines? What has he written?

    • Kevin Levin Oct 10, 2009

      Way to pick up on the “unfortunate black citizen” reference. That's business as usual for the SCV when it comes to precision in history. It reminds me of how loose they are when characterizing “black Confederates” as “serving” the army or nation. My guess is that Hines hasn't authored anything substantial beyond the typical SCV propaganda.

      • C.W. Roden Oct 12, 2009

        I see…it is apparent to me that the subject of Black Confederates frightens so many “intellectuals” such as yourself.
        I don't suppose it would do any good to point out that few people remembered that African-Americans served in the Union Army until the War Memorial in Washington D.C. was erected, and the movie “Glory” came out.
        Or to point out that many historians left out the fact that the Buffalo Soldiers went up San Juan and Kettle Hill with Teddy Roosevelts “Rough Riders” in 1898?
        Or that there were hundreds, if not thousands of black slaves and “body servants” who served in Washington's Continental Army as well as the British Army and in bands of Tory and Wig Guerrilla bands?
        Our knowledge of history expands everyday. So you deny that its possible Black men both free and slave served in the Confederate army and even saw combat roles in the thick of battle? It's not as illogical a leap as you might think.

        • Kevin Levin Oct 13, 2009

          I think you make an excellent point. Academics historians have been responsible for some of the most pernicious myths within the historiography of Southern history and slavery. For example, consider the Dunning School out of Columbia University in the 1920s and 30s. That said, I fail to see what that has to do with “black Confederates”. It doesn't “frighten” me one bit. In fact, I am willing to go down any interpretive road as long as there is sufficient evidence. Most people aren't even clear about what they mean by the reference. Thanks for taking the time to comment. You may want to click on the “Archives and Categories” button up top in the navigation menu and scroll down to “Confederate Slaves.”

        • bdsimpson Oct 13, 2009

          “So you deny that its possible Black men both free and slave served in the Confederate army and even saw combat roles in the thick of battle? It's not as illogical a leap as you might think.”

          Is it possible? Sure. It's possible a small number of African Americans served voluntarily in the ranks of the Confederate army, and that they even performed combat roles. I don't think it's possible that this number was very large, or else Confederate commanders would have noticed it. For example, if Robert E. Lee was aware of this, why didn't he say so when he supported enlisting slaves in the winter of 1865? Are you saying Lee was ignorant of his own army?

          The question is, what do we make of this service? Under what conditions was it performed? What were the choices available to the individuals in question? Would you argue, for example, that African Americans willingly fought to promote their own enslavement? Would you use whatever evidence you might produce concerning black Confederates to say that the Confederacy had nothing to do with the protection of slavery? Let's talk, in short, about illogical leaps. Let's see who's “frightened.” In short, answer the question, “So what?”

  • Corey Meyer Oct 10, 2009

    Here is a link with a bit more info on R. Hines…

    http://www.thenation.com/doc/2005829/blumenthal

  • Mark Snell Oct 12, 2009

    You would think that whoever wrote the SCV press release would have spelled Shepherd's first name correctly. “Etched in stone”–on their own monument in Harpers Ferry–his name is spelled “Heyward.” I guess they don't want to celebrate Jan Brown, er, sorry, John Brown.

  • msimons Oct 13, 2009

    The SCV in VA needs to get a good Editor to check their press releases for spelling issues.

  • chrismeekins Oct 13, 2009

    A point well made might be the responsibility of some academic historians for such scholarly works as the Dunning school produced but there were other historians out there writing. Many of those included information about African American participation in US wars. These writings certainly predate 20th century monuments and or movies. The United States government provided, along with the Freedman's Bureau (short title) papers, a multi-volume The Negro in the Military Service of the United States, 1639 – 1886. I have only seen it on microfilm with the Bureau's records. It has to have been around since the 1890s or so.
    The Dunning school was dominant, popular even. However, that does no t mean there was not other material out there as Roden seems to suggest by stating a very late starting point for acknowledging such service. The special soldier's census of 1890 and US pensions which included African Americans would suggest that, hardly ignoring these men, there were a known quantity. Two red pennies from me – and hey! I managed the new format!

    • Kevin Levin Oct 14, 2009

      You are absolutely right, Chris. The best counterexample would be W.E.B. DuBois's _Black Reconstruction_, which is one of the very few serious scholarly studies that takes seriously the political advances and challenges throughout that period.

  • Kevin Levin Oct 14, 2009

    You are absolutely right, Chris. The best counterexample would be W.E.B. DuBois's _Black Reconstruction_, which is one of the very few serious scholarly studies that takes seriously the political advances and challenges throughout that period.

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