Was reading Col. Michael Kelley’s excellent analysis of A Chronology of African-American Military Service from the Civil War to World War I, in which Kelley correctly points out several glaring deficiencies and half-truths in that book. I wanted to mention a highly credible source and authority on the participation of blacks on the Southern side in the War Between the States, Professor Edward C. Smith, who himself is black. He gave an hour-and-ten minute talk to a large SCV crowd a few years ago and received a THUNDEROUS standing ovation at the end. The tape can be purchased online at www.BonnieBluePublishing.com or www.HistoryandLiteratureoftheSouth.com. Here is a description:
Award-winning professor, Edward C. Smith, is Director of American Studies at American University in Washington, DC, Vice President of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, a Smithsonian Institution scholar, and an authority on the participation of blacks on the Southern side in the War Between the States. This talk, which received a THUNDEROUS standing ovation from a Southern crowd, contains an incredible amount of information about blacks in American history including those who fought in, what Professor Smith calls, "the first Confederacy" i.e., the American Revolution.
Rabid abolitionists, he says, were anti-slavery but definitely NOT pro-black, and even Lincoln did not believe blacks and whites could live together. Lincoln wanted to send blacks back to Africa.
Professor Smith admits he catches hell from the PC crowd time to time, but he speaks like a true scholar who is indignant at the falsity and misconception that often pass for history in this age of political correctness. He discusses slavery and how it was dying out and likely would not have lasted another generation since there were already over 500,000 free blacks in the South, some 60,000 in Virginia alone.
He talks about the social intimacy that exists in the South between blacks and whites, which could never exist in the North or West, and he maintains that blacks fought for the "second Confederacy" in 1861, for the same reason they fought for the first one in 1776, because the South was home and they were defending and protecting their homes, just like white Southerners.
He speaks of the absolute proof of black Southerners participating with whites as soldiers in Confederate armies who, as one Yankee officer observed, were "mixed up with all the Rebel hoard."
Professor Smith speaks of black loyalty on the home front where there were wholesale avenues of escape throughout the war, and points out that most blacks stayed at home and ran the economy and protected women and children whose husbands were off on distant battlefields. He maintains that blacks had it within their power to make the War Between the States a "four-week war" had they chosen to side with the invading Yankees and sabotage, poison, rape and pillage, but of course they did not. They were steadfast in their loyalty to the South, which enabled the War for Southern Independence to be a bloody four-year contest that was only over when the entire South had been virtually destroyed.
Not only is Professor Smith fascinating and articulate, he is witty and broke the crowd up constantly with laughter and applause. His thunderous ovation at the end was well-deserved. . . .
My compliments to Col. Michael Kelley for his vast knowledge of history and willingness to share it all the time. The facts are on our side, and often in Yankee records themselves, as Col. Kelley points out. The ignorant PC crowd can be discredited and beaten.
All the best,