Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Civil War. Show all posts

Sunday, May 26, 2024

Must Read Book: COMBEE: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid

Check out this exciting and interesting book about Harriet Tubman. The book is titled COMBEE: Harriet Tubman, the Combahee River Raid, and Black Freedom during the Civil War. The book tells the story of the Combahee River Raid, one of Harriet Tubman's most extraordinary accomplishments, based on original documents and written by a descendant of one of the participants.

Most Americans know of Harriet Tubman's legendary life: escaping enslavement in 1849, she led more than 60 others out of bondage via the Underground Railroad, gave instructions on getting to freedom to scores more, and went on to live a lifetime fighting for change. Yet the many biographies, children's books, and films about Tubman omit a crucial chapter: during the Civil War, hired by the Union Army, she ventured into the heart of slave territory--Beaufort, South Carolina--to live, work, and gather intelligence for a daring raid up the Combahee River to attack the major plantations of Rice Country, the breadbasket of the Confederacy.

Edda L. Fields-Black--herself a descendent of one of the participants in the raid--shows how Tubman commanded a ring of spies, scouts, and pilots and participated in military expeditions behind Confederate lines. On June 2, 1863, Tubman and her crew piloted two regiments of Black US Army soldiers, the Second South Carolina Volunteers, and their white commanders up coastal South Carolina's Combahee River in three gunboats. In a matter of hours, they torched eight rice plantations and liberated 730 people, people whose Lowcountry Creole language and culture Tubman could not even understand. Black men who had liberated themselves from bondage on South Carolina's Sea Island cotton plantations after the Battle of Port Royal in November 1861 enlisted in the Second South Carolina Volunteers and risked their lives in the effort.

Using previous unexamined documents, including Tubman's US Civil War Pension File, bills of sale, wills, marriage settlements, and estate papers from planters' families, Fields-Black brings to life intergenerational, extended enslaved families, neighbors, praise-house members, and sweethearts forced to work in South Carolina's deadly tidal rice swamps, sold, and separated during the antebellum period. When Tubman and the gunboats arrived and blew their steam whistles, many of those people clambered aboard, sailed to freedom, and were eventually reunited with their families. The able-bodied Black men freed in the Combahee River Raid enlisted in the Second South Carolina Volunteers and fought behind Confederate lines for the freedom of others still enslaved not just in South Carolina but Georgia and Florida.

After the war, many returned to the same rice plantations from which they had escaped, purchased land, married, and buried each other. These formerly enslaved peoples on the Sea Island indigo and cotton plantations, together with those in the semi-urban port cities of Charleston, Beaufort, and Savannah, and on rice plantations in the coastal plains, created the distinctly American Gullah Geechee dialect, culture, and identity--perhaps the most significant legacy of Harriet Tubman's Combahee River Raid.


Sunday, December 22, 2019

Support grows for memorial honoring African-American Civil War heroes

While the debate continues over Confederate monuments , support is growing for a new memorial on Monument Avenue in Richmond Virginia to honor African-American Civil War heroes.

The new monument would commemorate the Battle of New Market Heights from September 1864. in which six regiments of black Union troops laid siege to the Confederate defenses of Richmond -- and won victory. It was one of the first attacks of the Civil War, exclusively led by African American commanders.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Anonymous donors are dismantling Confederate statues

Renaming schools and removing statues can be expensive, so donors are quietly stepping up to help communities pay.

Three elementary schools in Virginia formally dropped their Confederate affiliated names this week after the largely African American city of Petersburg received a $20,000 donation from an anonymous donor to cover the costs of changing the schools’ signs and other places where the names appeared. The schools previously stood as symbols of institutionalized racism, honoring various Confederate generals and war heroes. After the makeover, however, A.P Hill is now Cool Springs, Robert E. Lee is called Lakemont, and J.E.B. Stuart is Pleasants Lane.

The donation is emblematic of a new trend of anonymous giving which has funded the removal of historically bigoted statues or the renaming of buildings and institutions. In September 2015, an anonymous donor agreed to cover the costs of removing three Confederate statues and a monument in New Orleans. (The erroneously honored were Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, Jefferson Davis, and the Battle of Liberty Place.) The process was coordinated through the Foundation for Louisiana, which accepted the donation and, in turn, worked with the city to cover costs.

In August 2016, Vanderbilt University completed the complicated process of removing the term “Confederate” from its previously named Confederate Memorial Hall. The university had been trying to do so for at least 15 years, but ran into legal trouble because that original name was part of a charitable gift received in 1933 from the United Daughters of the Confederacy. In 2005, a Tennessee court ruled that the school could only delete the name if it repaid the $50,000 gift, whose value had ballooned to $1.2 million current value. A pool of anonymous donors subsequently raised the cash. Efforts like this have steadily gained steam since a white nationalist rally of known hate groups turned deadly in Charlottesville in August 2017.

Read more: Anonymous donors are dismantling Confederate statues

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

NJ burial site for African American Civil War veterans in disrepair

Dolly Marshall's great-great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran who was buried at Mount Peace Cemetery in Lawnside, New Jersey. The cemetery is one of several sites in the historically African American Camden County community, Mount Peace, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. But what Dolly Marshall found on her visit was a far cry from the honor. Years of neglect have taken a toll on the grounds. Many graves have sunken into the earth, headstones toppled, overgrown by wild weeds. The cemetery is littered with trash and leaves.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Virginia Lt. governor protest honoring Confederate general

Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, the second African-American to serve in that role, stepped off the dais where he presides over the state Senate on Monday when Republicans moved to adjourn in memory of Confederate Gen. Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.

“It’s a personal decision for me,” Fairfax said afterward. “There are people in Virginia history that I think it’s appropriate to memorialize and remember in that way, and others that I would have a difference of opinion on.”

Fairfax was going to do the same last Friday after learning about plans honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, whose birthday is a state holiday. In the mid-1980s, Virginia began marking Martin Luther King Jr.’s holiday the same as Lee-Jackson-King Day. In 2000, Gov. Jim Gilmore called for separating them.

Fairfax said that when he was sworn into the statewide office on Jan. 13, he kept in his pocket a reproduction of a document freeing members of the Fairfax family in Virginia from slavery in 1798.

“I felt … in honor of my family and in honor of the journey that Virginia has taken and so many others have taken for progress, that I would prefer not to preside over those adjournment motions.”

Monday, January 01, 2018

Experts say black Confederate soldiers didn't fight for South Carolina

Two South Carolina lawmakers want to erect a monument on the State House grounds to African-Americans who served the state as Confederate soldiers. But records show the state never accepted nor recognized armed African-American soldiers during the Civil War.

“In all my years of research, I can say I have seen no documentation of black South Carolina soldiers fighting for the Confederacy,” said Walter Edgar, who for 32 years was director of the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Southern Studies and is author of “South Carolina: A History.”

“In fact, when secession came, the state turned down free (blacks) who wanted to volunteer because they didn’t want armed persons of color,” he said.

Pension records gleaned from the S.C. Department of History and Archives show no black Confederate soldiers received payment for combat service. And of the more than 300 blacks who did receive pensions after they were allowed in 1923, all served as body servants or cooks, the records show.

Confederate law prohibited blacks from bearing arms in the war, records show, until that edict was repealed in 1865 at the very end of the conflict.

That repeal resulted in a handful of African-American units in states such as Virginia and Texas. But there were none in South Carolina, which prohibited African-Americans from carrying guns in the state’s service throughout the war for fear of insurrection, according to the archives.

Read more: A monument to SC’s black Confederate soldiers? None fought for the South, experts say

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Robert E. Lee was not a Confederate Flag supporter

There is much contention as Confederate monuments and flags on state capital grounds come down around the United States. Those who support these flags/monuments say they want them to stay in place to honor the men from the South who fought and died in the Civil War. If they want to honor these men then maybe they should remember the thoughts of one of the Confederacy's best generals, Robert E. Lee who thought the flag should no longer be flown after the war ended. Learn more in the video below.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Alabama Senate passes Confederate monuments bill

The Alabama Senate has passed a bill that bars changes from being made to Confederate or long-standing monuments in the state. The ones who voted for this bill are probably the same type of people that say African Americans need to get over slavery, yet still want to honor the legacy of a group of traitors and losers who fought to keep other human beings enslaved.

WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Arkansas lawmakers advance plan to seperate Robert E. Lee day from MLK day

A proposal to end Arkansas' dual holiday for Robert E. Lee and slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. easily won Senate approval Tuesday, but faces an uncertain prospect in the House where a competing plan would honor the Confederate general the same day as the nation's first president.

The Senate voted 24-0 in favor of the proposal to remove Lee from the state and federal holiday honoring King on the third Monday in January. Only two other states, Alabama and Mississippi, honor the men on the same day.

"It's a day spent in prayer. It's a day spent in remembrance. It's a day that needs to stand alone," Republican Sen. Dave Wallace told the Senate before the vote. "It's a day that needs to stand for Martin Luther King."

The proposal would designate the second Saturday in October as a state memorial day, not a holiday, to honor Lee. It also requires the state to expand what is taught in schools about civil rights and Civil War history.

Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has urged lawmakers to approve the change, which he says would help unify Arkansas and improve its image.

"While both men have left their mark on history, dually celebrating them, as we have done in Arkansas since 1985, is an obvious incongruence," Hutchinson said in a statement after the vote.

Read more: Arkansas lawmakers advance plan to strip Robert E. Lee from MLK day

Friday, September 05, 2014

Alexandria (VA) to dedicate memorial to African Americans who died in Civil War

During the Civil War, the Alexandria Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery was the burial place for approximately 1,700 African Americans who fled to Alexandria to escape bondage. Now, in the sesquicentennial of both the Cemetery and the Civil War, a new memorial honors this site and those who were laid to rest there.

The City of Alexandria will officially dedicate the Contrabands and Freedmen Cemetery Memorial on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 10 a.m. Several hundred descendants of those buried at the Cemetery have been located, and many will be on hand for the dedication ceremony.

Read more about the dedication and the cemetery here: