Museum of the Confederacy Discontinues Sale of Black Confederate Toy Soldiers

I never doubted for a moment that the Museum of the Confederacy would do the right thing and pull these ridiculous items from their shelves.  Thank you.  Just another reason why I fully support the mission of the Museum of the Confederacy.

In addition to this situation, Civil War Memory was instrumental in bringing about the removal of poorly-researched information sheets on black Confederates at Governors Island in New York City.

The power of blogging in action.

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27 comments… add one

  • Shane Landrum Sep 17, 2010

    In fact, they’ve pulled those items so thoroughly that the page you’ve linked to in their merchandise catalog is “page not found.” Do you have a screenshot you can link to?

    • Kevin Levin Sep 17, 2010

      If you mean a screenshot of the item in question you can see it in the earlier post which is linked here.

  • Marc Ferguson Sep 17, 2010

    Darn, I was hoping to get one before their existence was covered up yet again by the pc revisionists…

    ;)

  • Colin Woodward Sep 17, 2010

    Now they’ll be even more valuable. Is this a historical catch-22?

  • Greg Rowe Sep 17, 2010

    Wow, and all I was doing was wasting a Saturday when I e-mailed you!

    • Kevin Levin Sep 17, 2010

      Thanks again for passing that along, Greg.

  • Jessica Sep 18, 2010

    Thus you take your cue from the Red Guards, mounting the new campaign of Cultural Cleansing?

    “Do not try to begin a gang of four to accumulate power”.
    Mao Zedong, 1966

    • Kevin Levin Sep 18, 2010

      I guess that’s one explanation. Of course, no one forced the MOC to make the change. Another explanation is that they realized that the item reflects really bad history and decided not to associate themselves with it. Thanks for the comment.

    • Greg Rowe Sep 18, 2010

      Jessica:

      I’m not sure why this particular charge was leveled at Mr. Levin, but as for me, personally, I just thought it interesting and passed the item along to him because of his interest in and research into alleged black “Confederates.” I am probably one of the most conservative people you will meet, but I have studied enough history to know that, even in my most apologetic days for the Confederacy, this idea did not seem historically correct. History is history; truth is truth. Why does this seem to scare people, whether they are liberal or conservative? Just because one disagrees with your particular interpretation of historical events doesn’t make them wrong. You may even vehemently disagree, but ad hominem attacks are not the way to make the point. If you don’t like this interpretation of history, then find actual, documented facts (outside the few camp slaves who might have taken up arms, “dutiful” body servants and those admitted to the Confederate army in March of ’65; BTW pension records do not count, since it has been pointed out here and in other sources that pensions were given for the support roles slaves performed, not for military service) that support your point. Then you may level accusations of the nature you have leveled. I am, however, convinced should you be able to find said evidence (though I’m fairly certain you will not or it would have been presented long ago), Mr. Levin would be the first to admit his mistake.

  • Jessica Sep 19, 2010

    Greg,

    My point is that apparently there were some “Black Confederates”, particularly the “last ditch” units formed in Richmond after March 13, 1865, yet they are now eradicated by a sweeping gesture of “bad history”. The MOC has been shamed into removing a toy soldier because it does not come with a 500 page treatise explaining it. Additionally, if my response to the Richard Poplar posting was read, I ask simply for the documentation on those individuals enlisted after March 13, 1865. I am told that documentation doesn’t exist due to the “late in the war” nature of their entering service, yet that is the whole crux of why other Black Confederates are dismissed at other periods of the war, because there is no documentation supporting their service. The argument tends to lean towards selective consideration and Draconian declarations. It is quite evident that Kevin is extremely proud of his powers to sway and change. If that isn’t an example of cultural cleansing, I would like to know what is. It seems like it is a horrid contradiction to assail the textbook issue in Texas and yet exercise the same determined level of censorship where it suites his maxim.

    • Kevin Levin Sep 19, 2010

      Jessica,

      Why not try to contact someone at the MOC to ask why they removed the item? Cultural cleansing usually happens as a result of an oppressive/intrusive government. No one was coerced here. The reason you don’t find black Confederate soldiers before March 1865 is because the Confederate government refused to allow free and enslaved blacks to enlist. What exactly do you not understand? I have already responded to the claim that the toy soldier must simply be understood as representing the small handful of men who fell under the March enlistment act: http://cwmemory.com/2010/09/04/the-museum-of-the-confederacys-black-confederate-toy-soldier/#comment-18693

      If you are seriously interested in this subject please take the time to read Bruce Levine’s book, _Confederate Emancipation_.

      • Jessica Sep 19, 2010

        Kevin,

        Your own words: “It seems reasonable to ask that museum officials pull these items from their shelves. Let’s take a stand on this insidious myth.”
        You didn’t call for some explanatory text be handed out with the purchase of the toy. No, you made it very clear that it had to be removed from their shelves. There was never an option to present the item in an historical context i.e.: a black recruit thrust into the conflict after March 13, 1865.

        Are you not prideful that you incited the masses to apply pressure on the MOC?

        And previously you placed a few phone calls and had an NPS handout removed within days of your learning of its existence?

        You can not dance around these subjects. You are looking for accolades.

        • Kevin Levin Sep 19, 2010

          Yes, those are my own words and I continue to stand behind them. I suggested that the museum remove the items in question and I suggested that the NPS remove the information sheets. In both cases I would argue that the two institutions chose to do so because they understood that the items in question did not reflect their respective mission of presenting solid history to the general public. Do you have evidence that “masses” of people applied any pressure in either case? If so, please share it with me.

          I am quite pleased with both decisions. If that is “looking for accolades” in your book than so be it.

          Once again, I suggest that you pick up a copy of Bruce Levine’s book and begin the process of educating yourself about this subject since nothing you’ve said connects in any way to the actual historical debate/question.

      • Dr. F Oct 27, 2010

        Have you taken time to read FORGOTTEN CONFEDERATES by Barrow, et al or BLACK SOUTHERNERS IN CONFEDERATE ARMIES by Segars? or have you spoken face to face with Nelson Winbush a retired black educator and proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) who proudly lectures on his black Confederate ancestor?? Until you have then you are not as fully informed as you think you are.

    • Greg Rowe Sep 19, 2010

      Look at the Confederacy’s own stand of why it was fighting the war by looking at its constitution and you will seee why this issue was never seriously considered except as a last ditch effort to save a failing effort. It was the Confederacy’s “Hail Mary.” What Kevin has always asked for is this issue be examined in how it both influenced and affected the master-slave relationship throughout the war. There is no other way for it to be examined, since it is a stretch, at least to me, to believe slaves would fight to keep themselves enslaved.

      As far as a “treatise explaining it,” well, I don’t think that would do any good; people don’t read the instruction manuals that come with their children’s toys. To expect them to read an historical analysis would be a pipe-dream.

      Seriously, I have heard some vehement and impassioned arguements supporting the idea of black “Confederates.” I have heard those who question this idea labeled a great many things, but have never seen them compared to Mao Zedong. I have heard them called liberal, but never “Draconian.” At least I have never noticed this in most public forums I frequent, but that, by no means, this type of name-calling does not take place regularly and I am not aware of it. If this, however, is the level you and others who support the idea that blacks, of their own accord and for their personal benefit, actually fought for the Confederacy have stooped to, in my estimation, it shows just how little merit your arguements have. In my opinion, that speaks volumes about who really has an agenda.

      • Jessica Sep 19, 2010

        Greg,
        Making assumptions about who I am and who I associate with is a little rash. You know nothing of me and my supposed agenda. Do you assume I am white, southern, inbred, uneducated and slack jawed?
        My issue is with someone who can exercise enough fear generation in a privately held institution to force it to remove an item from its shelves, despite a contradictory stance on whether such “Black Confederates” existed in March of 1862, or March of 1865, or whenever. The forced removal of the toy soldier is actually an eradication of an element of documented history, no matter how small a window it occupied in that history. If “Black Confederates” existed in Richmond in the waning days of the Confederacy, they have a place on the shelf of a store attempting to supply informative materials about that history. It might have served Kevin better if he offered up, to the store, a brief explanation of these “Black Confederates”, something to be provided with the purchase of the toy. Removing it did nothing to advance the historical facts, it simply elevated an ego.
        Even a slave compelled to wear a uniform and shoulder a musket in the dying days of the Confederacy deserves to be referred to as something better than a “ridiculous item”.

        • Kevin Levin Sep 20, 2010

          Once again, you make an assumption without any evidence as to why the item was removed. Please point to the evidence that the MOC or NPS was fearful of anything. With all due respect, unless you do so you will continue to come off as a complete fool.

          • Jessica Sep 20, 2010

            Kevin,

            How about you retract your prideful statement that “Civil War Memory was instrumental in bringing about..” these changes. You yourself laid the claim. My statements are based entirely on your boastfulness. Either you have this influence as you point out or you don’t. It is not up to me to prove your claims. It is that simple.

            • Kevin Levin Sep 20, 2010

              I will retract nothing given the chain of events. Look at the date of the post and within a few days the item was taken off their website. Seems like a sufficiently strong enough connection to me. Now, if you can find evidence to the contrary in the form of a telephone transcript or copy of a letter I will be more than happy to retract. Until then is was your final comment on this issue. I have given you plenty of opportunity to make your point.

              • Greg Rowe Sep 20, 2010

                Kevin:

                I started to respond to Jessica, but after reading your last comment, I’ll leave it alone and not clog the bandwidth. You know, from our exchanges here, I am probably one of the most conservative students (and teachers) of history around, but I still cannot accept this particular interpretation of Civil War history without some further proof.

                • Kevin Levin Sep 20, 2010

                  I appreciate that. Jessica had every opportunity to provide evidence that I had bullied the NPS and MOC into making certain changes. She failed to do so, which is why I’ve decided to cut her off. I don’t have the patience to deal with such nonsense.

  • D B Cooper Sep 22, 2010

    Jessica

    In Kevins world his is the only opinion that matters.

    Nevermind the truth or facts, just look through his fun house mirror to see what he wants you to see.

    DB

    • Kevin Levin Sep 22, 2010

      That’s a pretty strange explanation of this situation, but one that no doubt suits your own outlook. Don’t make the mistake of exaggerating this blog’s importance. As I’ve already stated, nothing coercive was done beyond making a statement. There is nothing controversial about that. After all, IT’S A BLOG. Perhaps both institutions agreed with my assessment. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

      • Justin Howard Sep 22, 2010

        Says he who dines with a “power couple”.

  • Patrick Oct 4, 2010

    I can’t help but wonder….how popular were these Black Confederate toy soldiers, with African Americans who visited the museum?
    What if the museum had simply removed them due to lack of interest, and slow (or non-existent) sales?
    Then What?

    I wonder if Jessica is as concerned with the shameless efforts by the UDC, and the SCV to mis-represent the entire history of the war. It amazes me how many people in the South are unaware that Southern Unionists even existed. Where is Jessica’s concern for this deliberate act of cultural cleansing?
    What about the deliberate attempt by Confederate Heritage, and its supporters to erase the issue of slavery, in reference to the causes of the war?
    What about the attempt by Confederate supporters to hitch their Kool-Aid stand to the struggles of Native Americans? According to the latest chatter in Rebeldom, the CSA was the Red Man’s champion, and fellow victim. You hear a lot about the Cherokee who fought for the CSA, but nothing about the ones who were persecuted by Confederates for wanting to remain neutral in the conflict. How ’bout them Comanche? The Lumbee? What right do white Confederate Southerners have to hijack the painful experiences of Native Americans, and pervert them to their own ends, like cultural parasites.
    What about the deliberate character assassination that “heritage” groups employ to smear the honor of Union soldiers in an attempt to portray them as nothing more than raping, thieving, vandals?

    What about it Jessica?

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