Here is something that is sure to make a rainy Boston Monday look just a bit more bleak. It’s the first local news report from Charlotte, NC from this weekend’s event in which nine slaves and one free black man were remembered for their service as soldiers in the Confederate army. You can’t really blame WBTV 3 for this report since all they can do is share what took place. Between the ceremony and this report it does give one the sense of just how woefully misinformed some people are about the institution of slavery and Confederate policy about arming black men as soldiers. The report begins: “Ten black military soldiers finally got the honor they deserve 150 years later.” Not one of these men served as a soldier.
On the brighter side, this morning I am heading over to Boston University to give a guest lecture in Nina Silber’s Civil War class. I am going to talk about my book and the broader topic of how black soldiers have been remembered in recent years. Part of the talk will focus on how the Internet has helped to spread and give legitimacy to the myth of the black Confederate soldier. All we can do is educate.