Here is some incredible footage of a Confederate veterans reunion in Jacksonville, Florida in May 1914. Like most other reunions it included former camp servants or camp slaves. They were often featured in newspaper coverage, but even those wearing their old uniforms were always distinguished from the white veteran soldiers.

Old Jeff Mabry

At the 1:40 mark in the film a former slave by the name of Jeff Mabry is briefly introduced. Notice the introductory text: “‘Yasser Boss’ – Old Jeff Mabry with Ross Cavalry Brigade.” It doesn’t appear that Mabry is wearing a uniform, but he is donning at least one reunion ribbon, which could indicate that this was not his first.

What is important is that the text does not refer to Mabry in any way as a veteran as it does when appropriate throughout the remainder of the film. Enjoy.

8 comments add yours

  1. Great footage, but nothing new or surprising. There are so many hundreds of examples of black men being referred to as loyal servants, and not one mention of them as “soldiers.” Like that one in my family who “served his master” according to pension records. They were all still slaves.

    Only the very foolish among us would expect to find anything else.

  2. For what its worth, I did notice that the dining tent was for Veterans only and the only Blacks I saw there were the servers.

      • Another thought which might be slightly off topic. Just think of someone who knows absolutely nothing about the Civil War, and he or she views this video of the re-union they would think that the people in the video were celebrating a great victory of sorts. I supposed they might have been because it was filmed during the height of Jim Crow.

        • Definitely a point worth making, but it also points to the central goal of the Lost Cause, which was to find victory in defeat.

  3. I’m assuming the sound must have been filled in years later since there weren’t talkies until the late 1920s.

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