This is great. In 1993 Professor Edward C. Smith addressed a Sons of Confederate Veterans meeting on the subject of black Confederates. Unfortunately, only the first ten minutes of his presentation was posted, but it is extremely helpful. First, Prof. Smith is a Professor of Anthropology at American University. It is unclear to me on what grounds he can claim to be an authority on this particular subject. As far as I can tell he has never published anything on the subject in a scholarly journal. I suspect that he can claim as much authority as Earl Ijames. What is interesting is the timing of the speech just a few short years after the release of Glory, which I suggested yesterday functioned as a catalyst for interest in this issue. Well, Smith confirms my suspicions, but he also helps us to better understand why African Americans may be interested in this subject. From what I can tell Smith views this subject as the next step in more fully understanding the place of African Americans within the broader national narrative. Blacks served as soldiers in the Union army so it must be the case that they also served in Confederate armies. Smith wants a more inclusive history that does justice to the accomplishments of black Americans. That is certainly understandable. I hope the rest of this speech is eventually posted.
Edward C. Smith on Black Confederates
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