Earl Ijames and his “Colored Confederates” are Back

It’s been a couple of years since we last heard from Earl Ijames. Back in 2011-2012 I devoted a good deal of attention to statements Mr. Ijames made in public about what he calls “Colored Confederates.” You can read what I have written here if interested. Today I learn that Mr. Ijames has produced a documentary video titled, “Earl Ijames Colored Confederates and US Colored Troops.”

According to the local newspaper in Kinston, North Carolina:

Drawing on more than 20 years research of primary and genealogical sources, Ijames, who is widely considered the subject matter expert on the African-American experience in the Confederacy, conveys the significance of Confederates of Color before the Emancipation Proclamation and after the creation of the United States Colored Troops. The eight-year project was recorded live and is based on actual events that led to the first monument in American history to honor Confederates of Color.

“Confederates of Color” is another one of those sloppy references that distorts more than it helps to clarify the role African Americans played in the Confederate war effort. That last sentence is a doozy. Confederate veterans and their descendants ‘honored’ African Americans on numerous occasions well into the twentieth century, but up until recently they did so as loyal slaves within the Lost Cause tradition.

Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the video for sale online.

10 comments… add one
  • OK, I read the post… and I’m at a loss as to how to digest the information contained within.
    “Confederates Of Color”? What is that? Who is that? Why is that?

    OK, my Junior High History Teacher from Wilmington, Delaware told me that, in no uncertain terms, that I was NOT FROM ANYWHERE -HAD NO HERITAGE-HAD NO PLACE IN AMERICAN HISTORY. She told this to the entire class while I was standing at the blackboard trying to explain that ‘negro’ should be capitalized.

    Now, Earl Ijames says, or suggests, that I might have ancestry that can claim “Confederates Of Color” as a point of cultural significance? What happened to the notion of “Black Confederates”?

    I guess they, the SCV or whoever, threw the latter at the wall and it didn’t stick. Now, with the help of Earl Ijames, they are heaving “Confederates Of Color” at the same wood paneling hoping this new attempt at revisionism will adhere.

    Ain’t Gonna Happen. I’m on it.

    Peace and Blessings,
    “Guided by the Ancestors”

    • “Confederates of Color” is a jumbled mess. #FullStop

    • “Confederates of Color” is a particular phrasing that Ijames has been using for a while now — in marketing terms, it’s part of his brand. It has the added benefit of being somewhat vague, so it can mean whatever he wants it to, depending on the circumstances.

  • A ask folk what is it that made Blacks, Slaves, Free Blacks, or any folk of color back then, “Confederate”? (I never seem the get an answer.)

  • One could be honest and say its the same reality that makes Traveller and Little Sorrel “Confederates of Hooves,” presumably… slave labor.


  • Earl L. Ijames and Wayne Winkler, 19th Union Presenters
    Posted by Melungeon Heritage Association on June 18, 2015 at 12:34pmView Blog
    Earl L. Ijames is currently the Curator at the North Carolina Museum of History and been both a reference and photograph archivist at the North Carolina Office of Archives and history. Earl is also a farmer, heavily involved in many aspects of his community, and currently lives in Wendell, NC. A 1991 graduate of North Carolina State University, Earl has a degree in History with minors in Economics, English and African-American Studies. As a performer and scholar, he has voiced and performed characters in historical documentaries and museum exhibits as well as served as a panelist/host on several radio and television shows about important African-American figures in American history, from furniture-maker Thomas Day to Colored Confederate soldiers. Most recently, Earl wrote and produced the 2014 film, Earl Ijames’ Colored Confederates, which debuted at the Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum, Historic Grant Park, GA; gave the 2015 Keynote address at the Georgia Civil War Sesquicentennial, and presented at the North CarolinaCW150 at the Historic Bennett Place, Durham NC.
    The film Earl Ijames’ Colored Confederates is a culmination of an eight year research project documenting the roles of various enslaved and free people of color who served in various capacities in the Confederacy and the Confederate Army. Using only primary and genealogical sources, we convey the significance of Confederates of Color before the Emancipation Proclamation and after the creation of the United States Colored Troops. This project led to the first monument in American history to honor Confederates of Color. (75 minutes)


  • I suppose you ridicule those who claim there were black slave owners also? It amazes me how certain “historians” twist themselves into a pretzel when history doesn’t jive with their ideology. I laugh when I read the dismissals of the three corroborating witnesses regarding black Confederates at Manassas. I’m sure you know what three, and have dismissed them by some elequent distortion of facts also.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment. Hope you now feel better.


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