Friday, July 30, 2010
Amos Rucker—A Soldier Remembered
By Calvin E. Johnson, Jr., American History-Writer, Speaker, Author of Book “When America Stood for God, Family and Country and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
What is your community doing to commemorate the War Between the States Sesquicentennial-150th Anniversary “2011-2015?” See what the Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans is doing at: http://www.150wbts.org/
August 10th marks the 105th anniversary of the death of a Southern soldier who was a friend to many–Amos Rucker.
Black Confederates, why haven’t we heard more about them? "I don’t want to call it a conspiracy to ignore the role of the Blacks, both above and below the Mason-Dixon Line, but it was definitely a tendency that began around 1910"—Ed Bearss, National Park Service Historian.
In 1905, newspapers led with the opening of Woolworth’s stores, the Atlanta, Ga. Terminal Railroad Station dedication with the US Army Band playing “Dixie.”…..And on August 10th Atlanta grieved the loss of a beloved soldier and friend.
The movie "Glory" enlightened people of the role played by African-Americans serving in the Union Army during the War Between the States, 1861-1865.
And books like, "Forgotten Confederates—An Anthology about Black Southerners" by Charles Kelly Barrow, J.H. Segars and R.B. Roseburg, have further enlightened us to the role played by African-Americans serving in the Confederate Armed Forces.
Frederick Douglas, abolitionist and former slave, reported, "There are at present moment many colored men in the Confederate Army doing their duty not only as cooks, but also as real soldiers, having muskets on their shoulders and bullets in their pockets."
Who was Amos Rucker?
Amos Rucker, born in Elbert County, Georgia , was a servant of Alexander "Sandy" Rucker and both of these men joined the 33rd Georgia Regiment of the Confederate Army. Amos got his first taste of battle when a fellow soldier was killed by a Union bullet. Rucker quickly took the dead soldier’s rifle and fired back at the enemy.
After the War Between the States, Amos Rucker came back to Atlanta where he met and married Martha and the couple was blessed with many children and grandchildren.
In Atlanta, Amos joined the W.H.T. Walker Camp of the United Confederate Veterans. It was made up of Southern Veterans whose purpose was to remember those who served in the war and help those in need. The meetings were held at 102 Forsyth Street in Atlanta where Amos was responsible for calling the roll of members.
Amos and Martha felt that the members of Walker Camp were like their own family. It is written that Amos would say, "My folks gave me everything I want."
These UCV men helped Amos and his wife buy a house on the west side of Atlanta and John M. Slaton also helped prepare a will for Rucker. Slaton, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, John B. Gordon Camp, would, as governor of Georgia, commute the death sentence of Leo Frank.
Amos Rucker’s last words to members of his UCV Camp were, "Give my love to the boys."
His funeral services were conducted by, preacher and former Confederate General Clement A. Evans. Rucker was buried with his Confederate gray uniform and wrapped in his beloved Confederate Battle Flag. Today, some members of the Martin Luther King family are buried near Amos and Martha at Southview Cemetery.
The Reverend T.P. Cleveland led the prayer and when Captain William T. Harrison read the poem, "When Rucker Called The Roll" there was not a dry eye among the crowd of the many Black and White mourners.
The grave of Amos and Martha Rucker was without a marker for many years until 2006, when the Sons of Confederate Veterans remarked it.
"When you eliminate the Black Confederate soldier, you’ve eliminated the history of the South."—The late Dr. Leonard Haynes, Professor, Southern University