I am pleased to announce that Myra Chandler Sampson will be speaking on Wednesday evening at 6:30pm at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Austin, Texas. Her topic, as you can see in the museum’s advertisement, is Silas Chandler. If I am not mistaken, this will be her first public presentation. I am sure this is going to be an informative and entertaining talk and I strongly encourage those of you who live in the area to attend and support Myra. As interesting as Silas’s story is, however, I suspect that Myra will also talk about her personal journey that involves nothing less than reclaiming an important piece of family history that had been hijacked by the Sons of Confederate Veterans and spread on the Internet as an example of a false heritage.
It was an honor for me to be able to help Myra bring this story to a wider reading public. I certainly wish I could be there on Wednesday evening. Best of luck, Myra.
Impressed Slaves Working on Fortifications
[Cross-Posted at the Atlantic]
One of the things that jumps out at you when you look closely at the profile of the African Americans celebrated by the Sons of Confederate Veterans as “black Confederate soldiers” is that they were all body servants. The best examples include Aaron Perry, Weary Clyburn, and Silas Chandler.
- They “followed” their masters to war
- Identified closely with the Confederate cause
- Rescued their master on the battlefield (dead or wounded) and brought body home
- Were awarded pensions for their “service”
- Remained life long friends with their former owners
I’ve suggested before that this narrative owes its popularity to its close connection to the mythology surrounding the loyal slave that took hold even before the war. What is interesting, however, is that body servants were not representative of how the Confederacy utilized slave labor during the war. In fact, we know that the number of slaves brought into the army with their masters as servants dropped by the middle of the war for a number of reasons.
Click to continue
Yesterday Myra Chandler Sampson and I spent about 45 minutes with Voice of America radio host, Ric Young, to discuss our recent Civil War Times article about Silas Chandler and related topics. I thought the interview went well. It was nice to have the opportunity to talk for an extended period of time and I was particularly interested in Myra’s reflections on a number of topics related to Civil War memory. Have a listen.
I know I mentioned it before, but it bears repeating that I absolutely love the fact that Silas is pictured alone on the cover of the magazine. That was a great move by the design staff.
Tomorrow at 12 noon [E.S.T.] Myra Chandler Sampson and I will be interviewed on the Voice of Russia radio to discuss our recent Civil War Times article about Silas Chandler and Black Confederates as well as other issues related to Civil War memory. The interview will be about 45 minutes long and you should be able to listen live. If not, I will make sure to make it available once it is archived. Myra and I are looking forward to it.
I absolutely love this photo. Pictured below are two generations of the Chandler-Sampson family taking the time over the holidays to learn about their famous ancestor. The photo conveys the power of history and reinforces my firm belief that what we do as historians matters. I am sure my co-author, Myra Chandler Sampson, agrees. There is still time to pick up the most recent issue of Civil War Times at your local newsstand. I think it is safe to say that 2011 was a good year for Silas Chandler.