“Our World Was About To Explode Over the Issue of Slavery”

The trailer for “Field of Lost Shoes” looks pretty good. It will be interesting to see how certain individuals and groups respond given the overt ways in which this story is couched in a broader narrative of slavery. At one point in the trailer a young VMI cadet shares with his fellow student that, “We should not be fighting to keep others in chains.”

[Uploaded to YouTube on September 2, 2014]

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

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12 comments… add one
  • TF Smith Sep 8, 2014 @ 10:40

    Well, at least they aren’t all well-fed 40-year-olds wearing glasses…

    I wonder about the “token abolitionist” quote … there were, of course, USMA and USNA graduates who went south, and even some Norwich grads – and, for that matter, 13 VMIers served in blue at one point or another.

    Most were from what became West Virginia, but still.




  • Eric A. Jacobson Sep 3, 2014 @ 12:32

    Bryan’s comment got me to thinking….I agree with his sentiment. On the other hand, I must admit I’ll chuckle because some will flip out when they see the trailer because, of course, it wasn’t about slavery, and wanting other men to be free would be really bad. 🙂

  • Boyd Harris Sep 3, 2014 @ 10:42

    “You boys will be the future of this country.” Which country is that?

    I too will try to reserve judgment until I see the film.

  • Bryan Cheeseboro Sep 3, 2014 @ 8:28

    I saw the trailer and I heard that line, “We should not be fighting to keep others in chains.” It concerned me that this film will be another one that makes the Confederate characters look like abolitionists.

    • Andy Hall Sep 3, 2014 @ 11:57

      That was my thought, as well.

      • Bryan Cheeseboro Sep 4, 2014 @ 9:38

        Thanks for getting it too, Andy. You know, I really like the show “Mad Men” because it shows the characters in the unflattering lights of racism and sexism. Not saying I enjoy seeing those depictions but I would find it more insulting if the show portrayed people in 1960s clothes with 21st Century mindsets. Someday, I hope someone can make a Civil War film showing people saying and believing the things they really said and believed.

        • Andy Hall Sep 4, 2014 @ 9:53

          Popular culture seems to be full of former Confederates who hated slavery and were racially egalitarian. I’m not sure you could do it any other way these days with a character who’s supposed to be likeable, someone the audience roots for. Shows like Mad Men (and Deadwood?) can be a little more raw about things because they’re playing to a smaller audience, and have more screen time to work through characters and plot lines, I guess.

          • Andy Hall Sep 4, 2014 @ 10:04

            Should’ve added that I’m looking forward to this film, but on its face the dialogue, “we should not be fighting to keep others in chains” seems out of place. The VMI cadets we’re talking about were 15-17 years old, which is not an age when one is apt to reflect on the deeper causes of conflict (or much of anything, for that matter).

            • Will Hickox Sep 5, 2014 @ 15:32

              And most of the cadets hailed from middle and upper-class families that outright supported slavery and/or owned slaves themselves.

        • Bryan Cheeseboro Sep 4, 2014 @ 10:52

          I had another thought- maybe the VMI cadet lamenting slavery was one of the “God’s & Generals'” Stonewall Jackson’s VMI students. After all, that Stonewall Jackon was an abolitionist and an early advocate of enlisting Blacks to fight for the Confederacy.

  • Jerry McKenzie Sep 3, 2014 @ 8:23

    I will definitely see it and judge it in its entirety, as I don’t trust trailers much. I hope it’s good too.

  • Pat Young Sep 3, 2014 @ 7:23

    I saw the trailer too. The film seems aimed at the Young Adult YA audience. The trailer seems to be honest about slavery as the central issue of the war. Hopefully it will be a decent film.

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