One Man’s Reply to "Black American Dreads Black History Month"
Black American Dreads Black History Month
A few corrections and additions to your excellent and thought-provoking article:
You wrote that the so-called Civil War was fought to end slavery.
First, the War of 1861-1865 was not a civil war.
By definition, a civil war involves two or more factions fighting over who will rule an entire country. Examples of civil wars include the English Civil War (1642-1651) wherein Parliamentarians and Royalists fought over who would run England, and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) which pitted the Bando Republicano against the Bando Nacional, each trying to govern Spain.
The War of 1861-1865 would be more accurately called The War for Southern Independence. It was an almost exact parallel of the War for American Independence (1776-1781) with the Confederate States of America filling the same role as did the thirteen States, and the United States of America the British role.
Second, the War was not fought to end slavery.
The War was fought because the United States of America did not want the Confederate States to secede, and attacked them — the same as Britain attacked the thirteen States in 1776, the Spanish empire attacked Mexico in 1818, and Mexico attacked Texas in 1836.
In his first inaugural address (4 March 1861) Abraham Lincoln stated that he had no intention of interfering with slavery in the States that practiced it. Furthermore, he endorsed the Corwin Amendment, which read "No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State."
The Emancipation Proclamation of 1 January 1863 did not free any slaves. It specifically excluded slaves in the United States and in those parts of the Confederate States that had been conquered and occupied — the only slaves over which the United States had any jurisdiction. (For a parallel, suppose that the President of Mexico proclaimed that all cigarettes sold in Texas were to be taxed. The Mexican treasury would receive no money from that tax because Texas has not been subject to Mexican law since 1836. The Confederate States of America had not been subject to United States law since their various secessions.)
Slavery in the United States ended on 18 December 1865 under the presidency of Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.
As for white people teaching black people to read and write: One of those white people was Jefferson Davis: Secrtary of War in the United States Cabinet, U.S. Senator from Mississippi, and President of the Confederate States of America.
Something else that does not get large mention during Black History Month (or any other month, for that matter) is the large number of blacks who served in Confederate military units. I have seen various figures ranging from the thousands to the tens of thousands. Most were support troops such as teamsters, blacksmiths, and cooks, but many were combat troops.
Again, Mr. Marcus, your article was excellent and thought-provoking. I look forward to reading more of your writings.
Clifton Palmer McLendon