Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Black Confederates?-Article in North & South

The article in North & South sheds further light on the issue of black Confederates. It showed that only a tiny number of blacks served in the Southern army.

The Confederate policy of exclusion was reflected not only in the rejection of Pat Cleburne's monograph on emancipation but in the reaction to Judah Benjamin's speech on the subject.

In January 1865, Secretary of State Benjamin spoke in Richmond's African Church and urged the Confederate Congress to accept freedom for black slaves in exchange for army service.

The negative reaction came swiftly. Senator Robert M.T. Hunter said,"If we are right in passing this measure, we were wrong in denying the old government the right to interfere with the institution of slavery and to emancipate the slaves." Four days after Benjamin's speech, the Confederate Senate drafted a resolution stating,"Judah P. Benjamin is not a wise and prudent Secretary of State and lacks the confidence of the country."

A week after his speech, Benjamin sent a resignation letter to Jefferson Davis.

These are not the sentiments or actions of a public or a ruling elite ready to accept blacks into their army.

These reactions bely any notion that large numbers of blacks fought for the Confederacy.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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