Barney on the Emancipation Proclamation

Today seems like a good day for a road trip, so in about an hour I will head on out to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley to the New Market Battlefield.  I’ve passed the battlefield a number of times, but have never taken the opportunity to visit.  In the meantime enjoy this Andy Griffith classic. 

Searching for Black Confederates: The Civil War’s Most Persistent Myth

“Levin’s study is the first of its kind to blueprint and then debunk the mythology of enslaved African Americans who allegedly served voluntarily in behalf of the Confederacy.”–Journal of Southern History

Purchase your copy today!

7 comments… add one
  • Matt McKeon Aug 1, 2008 @ 17:32

    I’m afraid most of TV land was lily white in the period that the “Andy Giffith Show” was filmed.

  • Kevin Levin Jul 28, 2008 @ 17:55

    Thanks everyone for the additional links.

  • Ken Noe Jul 28, 2008 @ 17:09

    One of my favorite episodes of The Greatest TV Show Ever actually involves historic memory. In “The Battle of Mayberry,” Opie gets fed up hearing descendant’s heroic tales of their ancestors. He goes to Raleigh to do research (!) only to discover in the archives that the legendary fight between Mayberry’s founders and Indians was actually only an wild party gone bad, the only casualties a few heads of livestock.

  • Larry Cebula Jul 28, 2008 @ 14:10

    OK, Kevin, I got your Civil War Memory right here:
    Why Come There Ain’t No Black People In Mayberry?

  • Bacall Jul 28, 2008 @ 12:28

    This is too funny! That’s exactly how it is when I talk to people about History. They think they know, and make up stuff along the way when explaining their answers. The bad thing about this is that if you don’t really know, you might accept what others make up, hence folklore, legends and misinformation. Love your blog!

  • Larry Cebula Jul 28, 2008 @ 11:09

    This post made me suddenly realize that I do not recall ever seeing a black person on the Andy Griffith Show. Google about I found this in a fan FAQ:

    “Q: The absence of black people in any town in the South is an impossibility. Did the writers deliberatly script only white people for the show?”

    “A: First off, you’re 100% wrong. It is NOT an impossibility because there are NO black people living in the part of Alabama in which I grew up. I mean none. There are a few black folks in the county seat which is in the valley but there are none living up on the mountain which I grew up. The mountain has over 40 towns of sizes ranging from 4,000 up to about 15, 000 people. So, your assumption is wrong. There are MANY towns in the south without black people.

    “Also, you are wrong that there were no blacks in Mayberry. If you watch the people in the background, you’ll see several black townspeople walking down the sidewalk and being a part of town. One that comes to mind right off is when Ed Sawyer, the stranger in town, is being confronted by the towns people out on the sidewalk…that crowd contains at least one black person and maybe more.

    “Of course there’s also Flip Conroy (played by Rockne Tarkington). He was going to coach Opie’s football team on the episode “Opie’s Piano Lesson” #215. In that episode, Flip says he’s returned to Mayberry after is pro-football playing days are over to run his father’s business. This was the first time (and only time) that a black actor was featured as a main character. Up until then, blacks were only used as extras.

    “In my opinion, not having blacks on the show was just a reflection of the way things were and actually still are in many places. I’m not just talking about the south but all over. Folks tend, no matter how sad it is, to flock together in groups. It’s not unusual for black folks to have mostly black friends and white folks to have mostly white friends….and that’s in today’s world. 40+ years ago it was even more true….which is too bad but that’s life.

    “I don’t really think it was the writers, sponsors or anybody else that caused the “whiteness” of the main characters on TAGS. I think it was based upon truthful story telling in relating stories revolving around Sheriff Andy Taylor and his friends….nothing else. I just don’t think that there’s anything else to read into it other than good story telling.

    “To see for youself some of the black townsfolk in Mayberry just visit the Black Mayberrians website.”

    The URL of the the FAQ is

    And here is the African Americans in Mayberry site:

  • Robert Moore Jul 28, 2008 @ 9:10

    Hope your visit is a good one. We started off around 62 degrees this a.m., perfect start for battle-fielding, but supposed to heat up after noon. New Market is one of those rather rare places where I had relatives in both lines of battle and in close proximity to one another… and both sides had connections to the Valley… and came together in a fight in the Valley.

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