Another February is here. Another Black history month is here. And the politically correct have all the say as to who is featured during Black History Month. Regardless of the politeness of the politically correct censorship the censorship is still wrong. There are many African Americans of note who do not fit in the politically correct agenda but whose history is very rich, inspiring and untold. Such is the case of Amos Rucker the great Atlantan.
Amos was born a slave in Elbert County, Georgia. He was a servant in the Joseph Rucker household around the Athens, Georgia area. Joseph Rucker was the first millionaire in Georgia. He assigned Amos to his son Alexander Rucker. Alexander was also known as Sandy. A few years later the South was invaded and the War Between the States begun. Alexander was commissioned as an officer in the Confederate Army in a Georgia infantry unit. Amos never questioned going to war with "Marse Sandy" as he affectionately called Alexander. Amos expected to care for Sandy, to cook his food and to prepare his uniform. The circumstances of war dictated a new career for Amos. Amos was standing next to Alexander while Alexander was speaking to other Confederate soldiers near the enemy line. A shot was fired from the Yankee line striking one of the Confederate soldiers speaking to Alexander. The soldier fell to his death. Amos picked up the dead soldiers gun and started firing back at the Yankees. From that moment on he fought shoulder to shoulder with Alexander.
Amos’s new career of Confederate infantry soldier would last for many more months. The friendships he made and the respect he earned while doing a soldier’s duty would last more than his life time.
The War and Reconstruction now over Amos made his home in Atlanta. He married and was blessed with children and grandchildren over the years. He was also blessed by being accepted in both the Black and White communities at that time.
Being a man of character and a good Confederate soldier he joined the Confederate Veterans in Atlanta. He understood the Cause they fought should never be forgotten. Amos had a special place at each veterans meeting. He called roll. He called roll from memory. He called every member by name and qualified each person with the word "here" or "dead". He kept track of every member in his camp. He was known for his great feats of memory.
Amos in his later years was interview by a Yankee journalist who questioned him about being a slave in his younger days and about the Rucker family who owned him. He responded in his usual pleasant manner, "The Rucker family is my family. My grandchildren play with their grandchildren. The Ruckers will give me anything I ask for." Clearly it was not the answer and story the journalist was looking to tell.
Amos Rucker never missed a Confederate Veterans meeting. He felt duty bound to attend, call roll and fellowship. Amos felt ill one meeting night and sent his son to the meeting with these words, "Send my love to the boys". Amos died that night…..but not before he sent those affectionate word to his fellow compatriots with whom he had fought shoulder to shoulder during the War.
Amos Rucker now dead but not forgotten by his Confederate compatriots was buried in Atlanta’s Southview Cemetery. This is the same cemetery where members of the Martin Luther King family are buried. The Confederate Veterans bought two plots there. One now for Amos and one later for his wife Martha. His funeral and his pallbearers read like the Who’s Who list in Atlanta….Funeral services were conducted by Clement A. Evans of Atlanta, Confederate General . Mr Ruckers pallbearers were Gov. Allen D. Chandler, Gen A.J.West, Judge William Lowndes Calhoun Jr, ex Postmaster Amos Fox, Frank A. Hilburn, Commander of Camp Walker, J. Holland and R.S.Ozburne.
Amos Rucker’s estate was administered by Confederate veteran John M. Slaton the future governor of Georgia who was known for commuting the death sentence of Leo Frank. John Slaton and his Confederate Veterans camp had always helped Amos. They helped him buy a house in west Atlanta. Now they helped to bury him and take care of his family.
Amos was buried in his gray uniform wrapped in a Confederate flag. Prayer and songs were led by Rev. T P Cleveland. Just before the casket was lowered Capt. William Harrison read a poem entitled " When Rucker Called the Roll." There was not a dry eye in that place.
For those wishing to pay honor to this Confederate soldier, to this Confederate veteran who survived severe wounds at Appomattox, to this Gray in valor you will not find his headstone, his monument or his Confederate marker because the politically correct removed them from Southview Cemetery. If the politically correct and other anti-Southern bigots have their way this Confederate African American will not have the 1956 Georgia flag to honor his memory. I wish to honor Amos Rucker the African American who volunteered for the South, who fought for the Confederacy, who sustained wounds in the line of duty, who earned the respect of his compatriots whose story is now told during Black History Month.
Harold Harrison Jr