Gregory Newson’s Black Confederate World

I don’t discuss Gregory Newson in my forthcoming book about the black Confederate myth, but he is certainly a very passionate and vocal advocate of this particular narrative. It’s easy to dismiss much of what Newson claims about the Civil War and other areas of American history, including the bizarre belief that not a single slave fought with the British during the American Revolution, but in doing so we lose sight of the many ways in which the past and present inform and give meaning to his life.

This short interview offers a window into why some African Americans have come to embrace the black Confederate narrative. What I take away from it is a reminder that what many of us are looking for is a “usable past” that compliments or reinforces how we experience the world.

Speaking of my black Confederates book, yesterday I learned that it should be delivered to the publisher by August 1, which means it should be on the shelves by the end of the month. Getting closer and closer. 🙂

About the author: Thank you for taking the time to read this post. What next? Scroll down and join the discussion in the comments section. Looking for more Civil War content? You can follow me on Twitter. Check out my forthcoming book, Searching For Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth, which is the first book-length analysis of the black Confederate myth ever published. Pre-order your copy today.

8 comments… add one
  • Andy Hall Jan 9, 2019 @ 6:32

    “What I take away from it is a reminder that what many of us are looking for is a “usable past” that compliments or reinforces how we experience the world.”

    That’s a really concise way of putting it. Good.

  • James Harrigan Jan 9, 2019 @ 8:15

    wow. I have heard a lot of this guy’s lunacy before, but the black slave owner who owned white slaves, that’s a new one.

  • Eric A. Jacobson Jan 9, 2019 @ 12:38

    OH. MY. He wanted to be among the living historians at an annual event we host for school children. We said no.

    • Kevin Levin Jan 9, 2019 @ 13:18

      Good call.

  • ME McLaughlin Jan 10, 2019 @ 5:49

    Can you direct me to more information and slaves in the American Revolution?

  • Bryan Cheeseboro Jan 10, 2019 @ 7:37

    I saw Mr. Newson at a reenactment (151st Cedar Creek) I participated in a few years ago. I was there in my Union uniform. He was there with his display of his paintings and his books. As I walked by him and his tables, he was talking to other people (Confederate reenactors). I had no interest in meeting him because I knew there was nothing I could say to change his mind. Anyway, I heard him say a few words that day but this is the first time I’ve ever heard him at length. I had no idea until now what his voice even sounded like. Listening to this, I consider my decision to not bother talking to Newson that day one of the smarter decisions of my life. His interview here can’t be called anything but incoherent, nonsensical rambling. This man is all about fantasy, not history. Eric Jacobson, I’m very glad to hear your school rejected his interest in talking to your students. I only hope that all other schools are smart enough to do the same.

    • Andy Hall Jan 10, 2019 @ 11:25

      I bought his book, Stonewall Jackson and the Uppity Spy on Kindle, with every intention of reading it and (maybe) posting about it, but I just couldn’t get through it. The text is very dense for a graphic novel, and I’m not sure what the intended audience is. It’s not really suitable for YA readers, since one of the two young African American protagonists — the “uppity spy” referred to in the title — gets shot in the head by a sniper, an event depicted in explicit, blood-spattered detail. The moral lesson of the book seems to be that he met that sudden, violent fate was punishment for his betrayal of kindly Stonewall Jackson, whose own death is depicted as an angel lofting his lifeless body toward Heaven.

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