I’ve been thinking quite a bit about the current state of interpretation re: the history of black Union soldiers during the Civil War and beyond in preparation for the Future of Civil War History Conference, which will take place later this week in Gettysburg. As I’ve said before, I think there is much to celebrate as we look back over the past 50 years. The number of scholarly and popular books being published continues at a brisk pace and popular representations of black soldiers can be seen in recent Hollywood movies such as Cold Mountain and Lincoln and even a historical novel about USCTs at the Crater by Newt Gingrich. Most importantly, many history textbooks now devote significant space to black Union soldiers and their contributions. Throughout much of the Civil War sesquicentennial USCTs have been front and center in museum exhibits, symposia, in the pages of local newspapers as human interest stories as well as in the form of new monuments and markers. Continue reading “Carole Emberton Reconsiders the Black Military Experience”
In his report to the SCV’s National Leadership Conference Adjutant-in-Chief Steve Ritchie noted the following:
Adjutant Ritchie then announced what he claimed would be a controversial fact, that there is no national constitutional requirement for proof of lineage/descent from a Confederate veteran for membership in the SCV. The membership packet required at national SCV headquarters includes a completed application, a check and preferably a type written summary of the applicants information but no paperwork for descent documentation is required by national headquarters. Membership records are kept as hardcopies at SCV National headquarters. SCV National does no genealogy verification. The application requires camp officer signatures to substantiate membership satisfaction and camp requirements vary. Compiled service records are sometimes illegible or inaccurate and many were lost during the War especially when towns were burned and razed such as in Sherman’s march. Additional resources include the American Civil War Research database and Broadfoot’s records of Confederate veterans. UCV and pension records are additional resources. He highlighted that how an ancestor was separated or location of his burial may be unknown and don’t get hung up on those details when completing the application.
You have to wonder why this point was raised and whether it will lead to changes in recruitment policy on the local level. Dispensing with the lineage requirement in what is clearly the most vocal Confederate heritage organization would certainly make it easier to fill the ranks and even branch out to welcome the descendants of all those loyal black soldiers, who we can’t quite match up with wartime records. Apparently, we can blame Sherman for the lack of records. At the same time it could undercut the organization’s own claims to authority based largely on their lineal descent. We will have to see how this plays out.
This young man seems to be quite convinced that the war was not about slavery. I am going to have to go back and review everything I’ve read. Warning: This video contains profanity.
Update: Leave it to Ta-Nehisi Coates to remind us of just how silly this project actually is.
Anti-Neo-Confederate crusader Edward Sebesta is best known for his push to petition President Obama to cease sending a wreath to the Confederate memorial at Arlington as well as his claim that the Museum of the Confederacy is mired in Lost Cause nostalgia. Now Sebesta and Euan Hague are hoping to rid juries of racial bias by identifying Confederate/Lost Cause bias among potential jurors. Continue reading “Should These Men Be Prevented From Serving on Juries?”
What follows is James Southard’s interpretation of his video. Continue reading “Father’s Flag”