SCV Butchers Another Slave’s History

1911 photo of Aaron Perry

In a recent speech, Ed Ayers suggested that “the enemy of Civil War history is everything people think they know about the conflict.”  We could just as easily point to what people don’t know as that enemy.  I am not going to say anything new about this most recent case of a slave being honored by the Sons of Confederate Veterans for his “service” to the Confederacy.  You may even wonder why I bother to bring it up.  I believe it matters that the descendants of a slave have been duped into believing that their ancestor somehow served as a soldier or was acknowledged in some official capacity within the army.

I have a copy of Aaron Perry’s pension and as it states in the article he was a slave.  The jump from acknowledging Perry’s status as a slave to honoring him for his service in the Confederate army, however, suggests that some people have a very limited grasp of the institution.  Let me break this down for you:

  • Perry was legally tied to his master’s family.  He left home as the legal extension of the man who owned him.  His master likely took Perry to many places in addition to the army during the period of his life in which he was property.
  • Only citizens of the Confederacy were eligible to volunteer or be drafted into the army.
  • At no point did Perry’s status as a slave change while with the army.  He was there to serve his master and not the Confederate cause.
  • The extent of Perry’s movements while with the army were legally dictated by his master and not by military regulations.
  • Perry’s pension was given for his service as a slave and not as a soldier in the 37th NC.  In fact, the unit is irrelevant.

As the military extension of a government that was pledged to protect the institution of slavery it seems to me that a more fitting ceremony for the SCV would include an apology rather than an honor that has absolutely no basis in history.  After all, if the Confederate army had proven to be successful, Perry would still have been a slave.

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Anything Missing…

at Stone Mountain Park’s plantation?  Well, at least the kids will learn about the important roles the animals played in the maintenance of the plantation. LOL

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Tower of Lincoln Books

You can’t do this with e-books.

Soon to be on display at the newly-constructed Ford’s Theatre Center for Education and Leadership in Washington, DC, this 34-foot pillar of literature includes over 15,000 unique titles about the United State’s 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. The museum is set to open before President’s Day.  [H/T to Clippings via Colossal]

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How Short is America’s Collective Memory?

Today I had the pleasure of skyping with a Civil War class at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.  Chris Lese and his class have made good use of my blog over the past few weeks so I offered to spend some time with his students to field questions.  In addition to utilizing the blog the class has read a chapter from David Blight’s book, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory and the American Civil War and they are making their way through a critical evaluation of Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary.  It’s always nice to see high school kids engaged in serious study of American history and it made for an entertaining and informative 45 minutes.  I am planning on visiting with this class in person during my trip to Milwaukee in April for the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians.

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Finger Lickin’ Dead

While everyone else is anticipating a vampire slaying Lincoln, I give you Mel Gibson in “The Colonel”.

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