A Quick Thought About the Coates-Smith Interview

I don’t know how I failed to comment on this, but the discussion early on in the interview is important.  It is unusual to hear two African-American men talk about the importance of the Civil War as one of the most important democratizing events in American history.  Of course, Coates is referring to the end of slavery and the service of black men in the United States army.  It’s not that he acknowledges the history as much as that he acknowledges its importance within the sweep of the nation’s history rather than simply within the context of African-American history.  Seems to me that this is an important mental step.  In a recent post I offered a bit of advice on the shared goal of making the Civil War Sesquicentennial attractive to African Americans.  I still maintain that this is going to be difficult given what I perceive to be a disconnect between the African-American community and the history of the Civil War or at least the suspicion among black Americans that the Lost Cause will continue to define public commemorations.  It would be interesting to hear what Coates and Smith have to say about this challenge.

1 comment… add one
  • msimons Jan 12, 2010 @ 18:38

    I agree Kevin I would love to hear their comments on this. I was at a reenactment this fall and a Black Union Reeactment Group came and Joined in the Fun. It is too important us as a nation to see that all are included in the study and rememberance of this period of time.

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