when you are surrounded by so much history. I’ve always been attracted to the history in my immediate surroundings. It’s what connects me to my community and/or allows me to make sense of things. Even when I travel overseas and for however brief a period of time, I find myself knee deep in local history. Since moving to Boston three weeks ago I’ve been reading local history non-stop. I just finished Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston by Michael Rawson and Richard Archer’s, As If an Enemy’s Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution. I am now reading Stephen Puleo’s book about the second half of the nineteenth century, titled, A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900. In short, I am overwhelmed by so much history.
One of my favorite sites is a Facebook page made up of folks who style themselves as defenders of Southern Heritage. There isn’t much serious history being discussed. Once in a while someone will ask for a quote’s source or the reference to a particular book, but more often than not members simply reassure one another of their own worth in the continuing struggle against folks, who they believe are out to destroy all things “Southern”. Here is a wonderful example that begins with a posting by Ann DeWitt, aka “Royal Diadem”.
…and corrects a number of misconceptions about Patrick Cleburne’s proposal to arm slaves.
This morning I learned that my co-authored essay on Silas Chandler with Myra Chandler Sampson will be published in the February 2012 issue of Civil War Times magazine. This just so happens to be the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue and I couldn’t be more pleased that we will be part of the celebration.
This little project has been in the works for quite some time, but it is one of the most important to me. The essay grew out of a series of blog posts over the past year that I hoped would begin to correct the historical record as it relates to the subject of black Confederates. Better yet, it led me to Myra Chandler Sampson, who happens to be Silas’s great granddaughter. Myra discovered me through the blog in the course of her own tireless quest to correct the historical record of her ancestor. She placed enough trust in me to send along a wonderful collection of archival sources, which greatly enriched my own understanding of Silas’s life as well as the rest of the family’s history through the 20th century.
Between the upcoming History Detectives episode on Silas and our own article it looks like we are one step closer to Myra’s goal of honoring her ancestor in a way that more closely reflects the available historical record.
Update: Andy Hall has an interesting post up on the absence of any significant debate on the arming of slaves in Texas. Philip Dillard recently wrote an essay that analyzes the various factors that led to the debate in Virginia and the reasons why Texans failed to consider this crucial step. It can be found in Inside the Confederate Nation: Essays in Honor of Emory M. Thomas, which is edited by Lesley Gordon and John Inscoe.
Resolved, That the State of North Carolina protests against the arming of slaves by the Confederate government, in any emergency that can possibly arise, but gives its consent to their being taken and used as laborers in the public service, upon just compensation being made.
Resolved, That North Carolina denies the constitutional power of the Confederate government to impress slaves for the purpose of arming them, or preparing them to be armed, in any contingency, without the consent of the States being freely given, and then only according to State laws.
Resolved, That his Excellency Governor Z.B. Vance be requested to communicate a copy of these resolutions to each of our Senators and Representatives in Congress.
Ratified 3d day of February, 1865.
I would love to be able to transport a group of modern day black Confederate myth proponents back to 1865 to discuss this issue with the North Carolina legislature. Now that would be a real whoot.