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The White Supremacist Myth of Black Confederate Soldiers Destroyed by Scholarship : Swingers Discussion 99555
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TOPIC: The White Supremacist Myth of Black Confederate Soldiers Destroyed by Scholarship
Created by: sappholovers
Original Starting post for this thread:
We've been having a debate in some other threads about the myth of blacks serving as soliders for the Confederate army, and bogus sources have been cited by some to support this myth, while I have cited a few sources that expose it as a racist myth.

With some more research, I discovered a book published by the distinguished Oxford University Press and written by a respected historian who exposes the myth and the reasons for it.

The book is Bruce Levine, "Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arms Slaves During the Civil War," and I will post from a review of it in The Washington Post:

"The idea of faithful slaves in the Old South has been one of the most tenacious myths in American history. Slaves' fidelity to their masters' cause -- a falsehood constructed to support claims that the war was not about slavery -- has long formed one of the staple arguments in Lost Cause ideology. In dealing with such myths, historians often analyze their tenacity instead of their veracity. Not so Bruce Levine, a professor of history at the University of California at Santa Cruz. His Confederate Emancipation is brilliantly researched and persuasively argued. In the past decade, the neo-Confederate fringe of Civil War enthusiasm (with tentative support from some academic historians) has contended that thousands of African Americans, slave and free, willingly joined the Confederate war effort as soldiers and fought for their "homeland." A quasi-debate over the existence of "black Confederates" has seeped into academic conferences, historical journals and many Web sites. The issue of competing popular memories is driven largely by the desire of current white supremacists to re-legitimize the Confederacy while tacitly rejecting the victories of the modern civil rights movement. What could better buttress the claims of "color-blind conservatism" in our own time than the notion that the slaveholding leaders of the Confederacy were themselves the true emancipators and that many slaves were devoted to the Southern rebellion? George Orwell warned us: Who needs real history when you can control public language and political debate?

This book is a scholarly, well-written demolition of the invented tradition of "black Confederates." Levine's intrepid research overwhelms the myth, although it will never kill it as long as such stories reinforce current social needs and political agendas. "

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Funlady2:

I am a great fan of Shelby Foote's 3 volume narrative of the Civil War. He has command of the facts, and he writes beautifully. He's a storyteller and a historian at the same time. And he has a conscience. I am a big fan of many Southern writers and intellectuals, including William Faulkner, Robert Penn Warren, and C. Vann Woodward.

I lived in San Francisco for five years. My belief is that you can find a spectrum of people in every city, suburb and small town in America, ranging from ugly to good. I like my time in SF and I did not see what you saw. I'm sorry that you were disrespected for your service and your religious beliefs. That's not cool.

In terms of protecting liberties, I value the Constitution and all those who try to uphold in beautiful and courageous ways its ideals and values and principles, and that includes the military and the A.C.L.U, the president and the Supreme Court. I think some presidents and Supreme Court justices are better than others, and I think one can find abuse of the law and unethical behaviior among both the military and people working for the A.C.L.U., and among ministers and academics and bank officials. But you can also find very good people in all those institutions as well.

Lucky:

I did not blame Sweet for the actions of his ancestor.

I am willing to blame him for celebrating and honoring a defender of tyranny and terror and dehumanization, aka, slavery.

Los Angeles CA
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Sapp, I am kinda shocked that you would use the late Shelby Foote for a reference. He was in his lifetime called by many the greatest living southern historian, and I frequently use a quote of his. Being that one of our homes is only about an hour from Atlanta, people not from the south ask me what I think of that city. I then quote Mr.Foote "every time I go to Atlanta I see what 300,000 of the finest sons of the South died to prevent." Also, having grown up in the very segregated south, I can say that I never heard as much hate speech in 1960s Alabama as I heard during the time I lived in San Francisco. I had always assumed that Liberalism equated with acceptance of diverse ideas. But, there tolerance was limited to people who agreed with their ideas of the destruction of capitalism, the evils of Christianity, the hatred of the military, and the total condemnation of the nation of Israel. Look at the current actions of that great liberal city of Berkeley. They believe that a teenager has the right to have an abortion without their parent's permission, but no one has the right to be able to walk into a Marine Corps recruiting center without being harassed. They told the men and women who are wearing the globe and anchor were not welcome in THEIR city! Yes, the same globe and anchor of the men who raised the flag on Iwo Jima, held out against all odds at Khe Sahn, and have secured Falujah. Also, the same Marines who every Christmas deliver toys to children who are in hospitals all over our country. The same Marines who in the hot summer sun of Alabama stood at attention in full dress blues to honor my father and fold the flag on his coffin and present it to me. I would love to know who the liberals think preserve their freedoms, the ACLU?

Mentone AL
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By the way, your ancestor--the Rebel general--was a defender of terror and a system of mass destruction of human rights and dehumanization: slavery.

See there you go blaming sweet for the actions of his forefathers. And you attack his heritage. So you attempt to bait with race again. He is not coming back. Now I know what TBR was saying in the Taps thread.

Saint Louis MO
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sapp, one book compared to many other accounts on here.

Mentone AL
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Sweetbutt:

I do recommend Ken Burns' documentary as an introduction, but I've also noted that it needs to be supplemented with such works as Shelby Foote's history of the Civil War and James MacPherson's "Battle Cry of Freedom."

Youl would benefit from a reading of Levine's book as he demolishes the myth of black Confederate soldiers and he explains the reasons why people today hold onto to such an invented tradition.

By the way, your ancestor--the Rebel general--was a defender of terror and a system of mass destruction of human rights and dehumanization: slavery.

Los Angeles CA
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Sarah44: Let me highlight for you a point made in a review of Levine’s book:

This book is a scholarly, well-written demolition of the invented tradition of "black Confederates." Levine's intrepid research overwhelms the myth, although it will never kill it as long as such stories reinforce current social needs and political agendas. "

Levine argues that Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis considered using black soldiers for the Confederacy, but rejected that plan.

Sweetbutt at one point claimed that 60,000 blacks fought for the Confederacy.

No approval was ever given to blacks to fight for the Confederacy.

Levine does tell of slaves escaping from the Confederacy and joining the Union Army and coming back to kill Johnny Reb...and trample out the vintage where the grapes of wrath were stored.

Los Angeles CA
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Applause, Applause!!!!!!

Saint Louis MO
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Dear Sir, We have engaged you in many campains. In every one thus far you sir have been weighed, you have been measured and you have been found wanting. You have been defeated sir by your own words. You sir have claimed that you only trust the words of historians with a phd, yet you sir speak of Mr. Ken Burns who has not a phd. He has only a ba. You only credit him sir because he supports the same socialist that you support for the Presidency of these here United States. You have tried sir to circle your single wagon (please picture clip from Blazin' Saddles). You are alone in your fight sir. You have failed to even consider eyewitness accounts and Official military POW statements regarding Black Confederate soldiers. For your narrow-mindedness and your neglect that there are in fact two sides of every story I sir am finished with you. You sir should be branded as a Liberal Coward. Clinton himself should jizz on your dress. You sir are a disgrace. I will not call you a liar, but you see no other point of view other than your own and the views you have been brainwashed to believe. Good Day to you sir. ~Jim

Spencer TN
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I read a little of those Bruce Levine posts and some others. From I could tell he doesn't say that there weren't any black soldiers in the south, only not alot of them and that the South's idea to enlist them as a last ditch effort to save themselves was too late. It seems his book is limited to the South's plan.

San Antonio TX
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Now the Confederate Pride school of history cuts and runs from confronting solid, reputable scholarship as manifested in Bruce Levine's book from Oxford University History as described in these posts.

Los Angeles CA
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TOPIC: The White Supremacist Myth of Black Confederate Soldiers Destroyed by Scholarship