I have a Dream Excerpt:
The Black Codes
Blacks who fought for the South
Black Regiments in the Union Army
Slavery Made Legal
Americans of African
This article was
contributed by Hollis R. Lynch, Professor of History and Director of the
Institute of African Studies, Columbia University.
people make up one of the largest of the many racial and ethnic groups
in the United States. The black people of the United States are mainly
of African ancestry, but many have non-black ancestors as well.
The American Civil War,
Blacks Who Fought for the South
Edited by: Robert Guisepi
Most historical accounts portray Southern blacks as anxiously
awaiting President Abraham Lincoln's "liberty-dispensing troops"
marching south in the War Between the States. But there's more to the
story; let's look at it.
Black Confederate military units, both as freemen and slaves,
fought federal troops. Louisiana free blacks gave their reason for
fighting in a letter written to New Orleans' Daily Delta: "The free
colored population love their home, their property, their own slaves and
recognize no other country than Louisiana, and are ready to shed their
blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for Abolitionism; no love
for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana. They will fight for
her in 1861 as they fought in 1814-15." As to bravery, one black scolded
the commanding general of the state militia, saying, "Pardon me,
general, but the only cowardly blood we have got in our veins is the
Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest had slaves and freemen serving in
units under his command. After the war, Forrest said of the black men
who served under him, "These boys stayed with me.. - and better
Confederates did not live." Articles in "Black Southerners in Gray,"
edited by Richard Rollins, gives numerous accounts of blacks serving as
fighting men or servants in every battle from Gettysburg to Vicksburg.
Professor Ed Smith, director of American Studies at American
University, says Stonewall Jackson had 3,000 fully equipped black troops
scattered throughout his corps at Antietam - the war's bloodiest battle.
Mr. Smith calculates that between 60,000 and 93,000 blacks served the
Confederacy in some capacity. They fought for the same reason they
fought in previous wars and wars afterward:" to position themselves.
They had to prove they were patriots in the hope the future would be
better ... they hoped to be rewarded.
Many knew Lincoln had little love for enslaved blacks and didn't
wage war against the South for their benefit. Lincoln made that plain,
saying, "I will say, then, that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of
bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white
and black races ... I am in favor of having the superior position
assigned to the white race." The very words of his 1863 Emancipation
Proclamation revealed his deceit and cunning; it freed those slaves held
"within any State or designated part of a State the people whereof shall
then be in rebellion against the United States." It didn't apply to
slaves in West Virginia and areas and states not in rebellion. Like Gen.
Ulysses Grant's slaves, they had to wait for the 13th Amendment, Grant
explained why he didn't free his slaves earlier, saying, "Good help is
so hard to come by these days."
Lincoln waged war to "preserve the Union". The 1783 peace
agreement with England (Treaty of Paris] left 13 sovereign nations. They
came together in 1787, as principals, to create a federal government, as
their agent, giving it specific delegated authority -specified in our
Constitution. Principals always retain the right to fire their agent.
The South acted on that right when it seceded. Its firing on Fort
Sumter, federal property, gave Lincoln the pretext needed for the war.
The War Between the States, through force of arms, settled the
question of secession, enabling the federal government to run roughshod
over states' rights specified by the Constitution's 10th Amendment.
Sons of Confederate Veterans is a group dedicated to giving a
truer account of the War Between the States. I'd like to see it erect on
Richmond's Monument Avenue a statue of one of the thousands of black