Slavery

Was Robert Gould Shaw an Abolitionist?

Glory is still one of my favorite movies, but like all Hollywood productions, there are places where it falls short in explaining the history or providing the proper historical context. Few Hollywood movies have had more of an influence on how we remember the Civil War and, specifically, the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Read more

Bryant Gumbel woke up today believing that his great-grandfather briefly volunteered as a soldier in the Confederate army. Since the airing of Finding Your Roots on Tuesday evening tens of thousands of Americans now believe that the Confederate government recruited black soldiers into the army as early as the first two years of the war Read more

Update: Early on in the production of this episode a producer with Finding Their Roots reached out to a reputable historian about the ongoing research into Martin Lamotte. In an email exchange that I have seen the producer was told specifically that the Louisiana Native Guard was never accepted into service by the Confederate government Read more

At the very beginning of his new collection of essays Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a few thoughts about the historical significance of the Confederate slave enlistment debate. According to Coates the debate itself reflects a deeply ingrained and long-standing “fear” that assumptions of black inferiority are unfounded. The fear had precedent. Toward the end of the Read more

Having just finished writing about the debate over slave enlistment that took place throughout the Confederacy by mid-1864 through March 1865, it is safe to say that I’ve read hundreds of letters, diary entries and op-eds that explored what white southerners took to be the dangers of arming their bondsmen. Even those who came out Read more

Today The Post & Courier in Charleston published my op-ed in response to Monday’s proposal from two South Carolina legislators, who would like to see a monument to black Confederates erected on the State House grounds in Columbia. For many of you there is nothing new in this piece, but I believe that it is Read more

This morning I started writing with the intention of finishing a rough draft of the final chapter of my black Confederates book. The big question that I still needed to nail down was where exactly to end it. By mid-morning I had my answer. News out of South Carolina revealed that two Republican state legislators Read more

The violence in Charlottesville this past weekend has already pushed the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky to take steps to remove its Confederate monuments. A councilman in Baltimore wants to see its monument of Lee and Jackson destroyed. Protesters marched last night in Richmond down Monument Avenue. This will continue and more monuments will come down Read more