Re: "Still need to face our true history" (Rev. Darby, 11/03)

From: colonel@37thtexas.org
To: stateeditor@thestate.com

http://www.thestate.com/mld/state/news/opinion/13067152.htm

Rev. Darby is correct about the need to research, recall, and recognize history in a non-selective manner. I trust, however, that that means he is willing to see ALL of history brought to public attention and not merely that which pleases him or his adherents.

At Ft. Mill, SC, there is a monument erected in 1895 with a list of honorees’ names and the following dedication:

"DEDICATED TO THE FAITHFUL SLAVES WHO, LOYAL TO THE SACRED TRUST, TOILED FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE ARMY, WITH MATCHLESS DEVOTION, AND WITH STERLING FIDELITY GUARDED OUR DEFENCELESS HOMES, WOMEN AND CHILDREN, DURING THE STRUGGLE FOR THE PRINCIPLES OF OUR ‘CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA’"

Confederate soldiers went to war leaving the safety of their families to the care of their slaves.

In Darlington, SC, Black Confederate drummer Henry Brown was laid to rest in 1907 in a funeral which saw 10,000 white and Black neighbors honor him. The white Darlington Guard militia carried his body to the church and the five leading white citizens of Darlington carried his coffin into the church. The bugler of the Guard played Taps over his grave and an honor salute was fired.

The Darlington Press commented at the time that, "Should the stranger in our gates ask, ‘What mean ye by this service. Why should white people thus pay honor to a colored man?’ The answer would be because he was a man…Only in the South where the negro is known and appreciated could such a demonstration have been seen, it was a cordial recognition of the worth of a citizen of this county whose death was a loss to the community."

It seems that compared to 1907 both sides have "lost their way" a bit.

Over Henry Brown’s grave now flies the regimental flag of the 21st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, placed there in a military ceremony in 2003 by the 37th Texas Cavalry and the PeeDee Rifles reenactment units in cooperation with the city and county of Darlington.

As a graduate of Summerville High School and the University of South Carolina I welcome Rev. Darby in joining our efforts to recognize ALL of history, no matter the warts and whiskers.

Your Obedient Servant,
Col. Michael Kelley, Commanding
37th Texas Cavalry
"We Are A Band Of Brothers!"

Michael Kelley
Pascagoula, MS