Tag Archives: Civil War

The Origin Of Memorial Day

2Black folk celebrate every holiday with vigor, yet most don’t know the origins or the reason why. DID YOU KNOW? Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers, who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for two weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

The truth is the custom of holding observances the laying of flowers on burial sites to remember and honor those who gave their lives in military service goes back many hundreds if not thousands of years. In the United States, that custom has long since been formalized in the creation of Memorial Day formerly known as Decoration Day. A federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

What we celebrate or know as the modern Memorial Day originated with an order issued in 1868 by Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, for the annual decoration of war graves. Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children of Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

The story of Memorial Day, some say, began in the summer of 1865, when a prominent local druggist, Henry C. Welles, mentioned to some of his friends at a social gathering while praising the living veterans of the Civil War; it would be well to remember the patriotic dead by placing flowers on their graves. On May 5, 1866, the Village was decorated with flags at half mast, draped with evergreens and mourning black. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly two dozen places claim to be the primary source of the holiday. An assertion found on plaques, on Web sites and in the dogged local historians across the country.

In his book Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, Professor David W. Blight made the case for Charleston, South Carolina, as Memorial Day’s birthplace, as that city was the site of an obscure (possibly suppressed) May 1865 event held at a racetrack turned war prison. During which freedmen properly reburied hundreds of Union dead found there and then held a ceremony to dedicate the cemetery.

The official dedication ceremony was conducted by the ministers of all the black churches in Charleston with prayers, reading of biblical passages, and singing spirituals black Charlestonians gave birth to an American tradition. In so doing, they declared the meaning of the war in the most public way possible by their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of roses, lilacs, and marching feet on the old planters’ Race Course.

After the dedication, crowds gathered at the Racecourse grandstand to hear some thirty speeches by Union officers, local black ministers, and abolitionist missionaries. Picnics ensued around the grounds, and in the afternoon, a full brigade of Union infantry, including Colored Troops, marched in double column around the martyrs’ graves and held a drill on the infield of the Race Course. The war was over, and Memorial Day was founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration.

Professor Blight termed it “the first Memorial Day” because it predated most of the other contenders…” he said. Today, this celebration has morphed into, as Howard Zinn remarked: “Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication.”

I am a veteran and have yet to receive any gratitude for my service in the war, came home, and was less free than when I left. However, I am very grateful I survived the carnage and horrors of it! The fact is, if we could stop war there would not be a reason to celebrate this day! Only the rich can truly celebrate this day because of the wealth they receive! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Black History: Did You Know Bass Reeves Was The Real Lone Ranger

220px-Bass_ReevesHistory and the authors of His-Story have differed dramatically throughout time to anything close to reality or truth. In other words, His-Story is nothing more than pure fabrications and downright lies. Let me be blunt and call it what it is; Damn Lies!

Particularly, when it comes to movies “they” say tell as truth about anything that involves black life or black people. I need not remind you but there are more than a few false images that are so obvious that anyone can see there is little truth contained in the story; for example, Cleopatra, Moses, the Ten Commandments and for that matter the story of Jesus, etc. Of course, they have an answer; they call those lies – literary privilege – I call it white privilege.

One such story involves the tale of the “Lone Ranger”! As it turns out, he was a black man named Bass Reeves, who the legend of a white man roaming the west on a white horse fighting crime was based on; yes – a black man. Perhaps not surprisingly, many aspects of Bass’ life were written out of the story, most notably his ethnicity. The basics remained the same: a lawman hunting bad guys, accompanied by a Native American, riding on a white horse, and with a silver trademark.

Reeves was born into slavery in 1838 in Arkansas and named Bass Reeves by his owner an Arkansas state legislator named William Steele Reeves. When Bass Reeves was about eight William Reeves moved to Texas near Sherman in what was known as the Peters Colony. Some accounts say he may have also served Colonel George Reeves, the son of William Reeves, as a slave as well. It was during the Civil War when Bass parted company with George Reeves.

Reeves took the chaos that ensued during the Civil War to escape to freedom, after beating his “master” within an inch of his life, or according to some sources, to death. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this escape was that Reeves only beat his enslaver after the latter lost sorely at a game of cards with Reeves and attacked him. After successfully defending himself from this attack, he knew that there was no way he would be allowed to live if he stuck around. Reeves fled to the then Indian Territory of today’s Oklahoma and lived harmoniously among the Seminole and Creek Nations of Native American Indians.

After the Civil War finally concluded, he married and eventually fathered ten children, making his living as a Deputy U.S. Marshall in Arkansas and the Indian Territory. If this surprises you, and it should, as Reeves was the first African American ever to hold such a position. Burton explains that it was at this point that the Lone Ranger story comes into play. Reeves was described as a “master of disguises”. He used these disguises to track down wanted criminals, even adopting similar ways of dressing and mannerisms to meet and fit in with the fugitives, in order to identify them.

Reeves kept and gave out silver coins as a personal trademark of sorts, just like the story of the white Lone Ranger’s silver bullets. Of course, the recent Disney adaptation of the Lone Ranger devised a clever and meaningful explanation for the silver bullets in the classic tales. For the new Lone Ranger, I would say more comedic than entertaining. But in the original series, there was never an explanation given, as this was simply something originally adapted from Reeves’ personal life and trade marking of himself.

For Reeves, it had a very different meaning; he would give out the valuable coins to ingratiate himself to the people wherever he found himself working, collecting bounties. In this way, a visit from the real “Lone Ranger” meant only good fortune for the town: a criminal off the street and perhaps a lucky silver coin. Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves was also expert crack shot with a gun. According to legend, shooting competitions had an informal ban on allowing him to enter. Like the Lone Ranger, Reeves rode a white horse throughout almost his entire career, at one point riding a light gray one as well.

Like the famed white Lone Ranger legend, Reeves had his own close friend like Tonto. Reeves’ companion was a Native American posse man and tracker who he often rode with when he was out capturing bad guys. In all, there were close to 3000 of such criminals they apprehended, making them a legendary duo in many regions.

The famed judge known as the hanging judge, Isaac Parker, was appointed as a federal judge for the Indian Territory. Parker appointed James Fagan as U.S. Marshal, directing him to hire 200 Deputy U.S. Marshals. Fagan had heard about Reeves, who knew the Indian Territory and could speak several Indian languages. Fagan recruited him as one of his deputies and Reeves was the first African-American deputy west of the Mississippi River.

Reeves was initially assigned as a Deputy U.S. Marshal for the Western District of Arkansas, which also had responsibility for the Indian Territory. Reeves served in that district until 1893, when he transferred to the Eastern District of Texas in Paris, Texas. In 1897, he was transferred to the Muskogee Federal Court.

Reeves worked for thirty-two years as a Federal peace officer in the Indian Territory. He was one of Judge Parker’s most valued deputies and is credited with capturing some of the most dangerous criminals of the time. During his long career, ending in 1907, Reeves claimed to have arrested over 3,000 felons claiming to have shot and killed fourteen outlaws to defend his own life. He was never wounded, despite having his hat and belt shot off on separate occasions. Once he had to arrest his own son for murder.

The final proof that the Legend of Bass Reeves directly inspired into the story of the Lone Ranger can be found in the fact that a large number of those criminals were sent to federal prison in Detroit.

The Lone Ranger radio show originated and was broadcast to the public in 1933 on WXYZ in Detroit where the legend of Reeves was famous only two years earlier. Of course, WXYZ and the later TV and movie adaption’s weren’t about to make the Lone Ranger a black man, who began his career by beating a slave-keeper to death – now you know. Spread the word and let people know the real legend of the Lone Ranger. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


John Brown: The Man Who Killed Slavery

982_160I have long wanted to write a piece about the abolitionist, John Brown, because he was a man of action and a man who would not be deterred from his mission of abolishing slavery. He was more significant in eradicating slavery than any single individual at the time. As you know, history has not been kind to his legacy and therefore, anything reported about Brown is in no way told in a positive light. He is projected as a wild crazy white man that lost his mind, but that was not the case at all.

They talked about the end of his life as a traitor for wanting to end slavery. So on October 16, 1859; he led 21 men on a raid of the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. His plan was to arm slaves with the weapons he and his men seized from the arsenal that was thwarted by local farmers, militiamen, and Marines led by Robert E. Lee. Within 36 hours of the attack, most of Brown’s men had been killed or captured.

Brown stood trial and was found guilty of treason. On December 2, 1859, he was hung in Charlestown, WV. As Brown approached the hanging scaffold, he stated: “I, John Brown, am now quite certain that the crimes of this guilty land will never be purged away but with Blood. I had, as I now think vainly, flattered myself that without very much bloodshed it might be done.”

John Brown was born into a deeply religious family in Torrington, Connecticut, in 1800. During his first fifty years, Brown moved about the country, settling in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York, and taking along his ever-growing family. He would father twenty children. It is important to note that several of his sons were killed during the raid at Harpers Ferry.

He helped finance the publication of David Walker’s Appeal and Henry Highland’s “Call to Rebellion” speech. He gave land to fugitive slaves. He and his wife agreed to raise a black youth as one of their own. He also participated in the Underground Railroad and, in 1851, helped establish the League of Gileadites, an organization that worked to protect escaped slaves from slave catchers.

In 1847, Frederick Douglass met Brown for the first time in Springfield, Massachusetts. Of the meeting, Douglass stated that “Though a white gentleman, [Brown] is in sympathy a black man, and as deeply interested in our cause, as though his own soul had been pierced with the iron of slavery.” It was at this meeting that Brown first outlined his plan to Douglass to lead a war to free slaves.

Despite his contributions to the antislavery cause, Brown did not emerge as a figure of major significance until 1855 after he followed five of his sons to the Kansas territory. There, he became the leader of antislavery guerillas and fought a proslavery attack against the antislavery town of Lawrence. The following year, in retribution for another attack, Brown went to a proslavery town and brutally killed five of its settlers. Brown and his sons would continue to fight in the territory of Missouri for the rest of the year.

Brown returned to the east and began to think more seriously about his plan for a war in Virginia against slavery. He sought money to fund an “army” he would lead. On October 16, 1859, he set his plan into action when he and 21 other men, 5 blacks and 16 whites, raided the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry. Brown was wounded and quickly captured, and moved to Charlestown, Virginia, where he was tried and convicted of treason, Before hearing his sentence, Brown was allowed make an address to the court.

. . . I believe to have interfered as I have done, . . . in behalf of His despised poor, was not wrong, but right. Now, if it be deemed necessary that I should forfeit my life for the furtherance of the ends of justice, and mingle my blood further with the blood of my children, and with the blood of millions in this slave country whose rights are disregarded by wicked, cruel, and unjust enactments, I submit: so let it be done.”

Although initially shocked by Brown’s exploits, many Northerners began to speak favorably of the militant abolitionist. “No man in America has ever stood up so persistently and effectively for the dignity of human nature. . . .” Henry David Thoreau said in an address to the citizens of Concord, Massachusetts.

North and South drew even farther apart from each other. John Brown and his Harpers Ferry raid are often referred to as the match that lit the fuse on the powder keg of secession and civil war. Even today, debate continues as to how Brown should be remembered: as a martyr to freedom, as a well-intended but misguided individual, or as a terrorist who hoped for revolution and, perhaps, murder on a grand scale. I say he did more for the cause to end slavery than any other living soul of the time and therefore, a martyr! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Presidents And The Klu Klux Klan

th-3There is a lot of talk and concern about the president-elect’s connection to and associations with the Ku Klux Klan. I find that interesting because, if true, why are you alarmed because America has had many presidents that were owners and I would dare say all but a few were bigoted and racist. Whether the incoming president is racist is open for debate. However, the optics of what he had said and done strongly would suggest the answer is yes; so, why the shock and disbelief? America by its very nature is racist, and I would argue that most white folks are, to be honest.

There have been active KKK members on the Supreme Court as well as in all position in government and captains of industry. Don’t be shocked to know that at least five U.S. Presidents were members of the Ku Klux Klan. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the KKK started in the summer of 1866 when six ex-Confederate officers decided to organize a social club. They decided to use the term “kuklos,” which means circle. After adding the word Klan, the name Ku Klux Klan was born.

In his book, “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White,” David Barton details the political history of the KKK; noting that the original targets of the Klan were Republicans, both black and white, and that between 1882 and 1964, 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites were lynched by the Klan.

Barton goes on to point out that the Klan has its roots in the Democratic Party and that the first grand wizard of the KKK, Nathan Bedford Forrest, was honored for his leadership at the 1868 Democratic National Convention.  For those who do not believe that the roots of the Democratic Party are racist, one only needs to note that not a single Democrat voted for the 14th Amendment which granted citizenship to former slaves.

Barton went on to say, “Although it is relatively unreported today, historical documents are unequivocal that the Klan was established by the Democrats and that the Klan played a prominent role in the Democratic Party.  In fact, a 13-volume set of congressional investigations from 1872 conclusively and irrefutably documented that fact.” To be clear, the Democrats of the 1860’s were more like what the Republicans are today. The following are the presidents that were active and known Ku Klux Klan members:

President William McKinley

The first U.S. President who was a KKK member was William McKinley, who was a former Union officer, according to kkk.org.  Not much is known about his involvement with the Klan, but many union men joined the KKK during its First Era during the Radical Republican’s anti-white Reconstruction Era.

President Woodrow Wilson

Woodrow Wilson was the second U.S. President to be a KKK member. According to Nick Ragone’s book, “Presidents’ Most Wanted: The Top 10 Book of Extraordinary Executives, Colorful Campaigns, and White House Oddities,” Wilson was known as a virulent racist and actually helped Klan membership skyrocket by providing screenings of The Clansman and Birth of a Nation for members of his Cabinet, Congress, and the Supreme Court. Wilson’s ideology helped pave the intellectual foundation of the campaigns of racist Dixiecrats Strom Thurmond and George Wallace. Wilson is also credited with allowing Washington D.C. to become Jim Crow territory.  He also never shied away from speaking publicly about the ‘benefits’ of segregation.

President Warren G. Harding

Warren G. Harding was the next president who was a KKK member. According to kkk.org and the book The Fiery Cross, Harding was actually sworn in at a KKK ceremony that was held at the White House by Imperial Wizard Colonel Simmons. Harding was not the only president to allow Klan activities to be held on White House grounds. Calvin Coolidge was a well known and active Klan member who allowed cross lightings on the Capital steps and also reviewed the giant Klan parades of 1925 and 1926 that were held in Washington D.C.

President Harry S. Truman

Harry S. Truman is the final U.S. President to have ties to the KKK that are known and documented. While he was not a prominent member, he did pay dues to the organization between 1920 and 1922. He eventually parted ways with the Klan due to their disapproval of his appointment of Roman Catholics to key political positions.

During the time that these Presidents were in office between 1882 and 1964, David Barton reports that 4,743 people were lynched. It was Republicans who led an effort to pass federal anti-lynching legislation, but Democrats were able to successfully ban those bills. History of the Democratic Party on their website conveniently leaves out party history from 1848 to 1900, avoiding publication of information related to the party’s racist roots.  Understanding the past is a vital part of not repeating mistakes in the future, and black people deserve to know that the party that many of them affiliate with actually has its roots in one of America’s most noted hate groups.

The new guy is not the problem, all he wants is the money; the problem is those people he puts around him! I have quoted Dr. Woodson many times where he noted that no matter who the president is black people will never get more than what they always got. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Most of this information was derived from an article posted on “I love black people.


Terror: The Scourge Of Lynchings

5The term “Lynch’s Law” and subsequently “lynch law” and “lynching” originated during the American Revolution when Charles Lynch, a Virginia justice of the peace, ordered extralegal punishment for Loyalist. Although there are some who believe the term is to pay homage to the mythical figure “Willie Lynch”, which is not true. In the South before the Civil War, members of the abolitionist movement and other people opposing slavery were also targets of lynch mob violence. This was in many ways an effective tool of white supremacy to induce fear and to control blacks by white people.

Lynching was the practice of killing, an act of terror usually by a hanging resulting from extrajudicial mob action by white people against blacks. Lynchings in the United States occurred after the American Civil War in the late 1800s, the emancipation of slaves, and chiefly from the late 1800s through the 1960s. Lynchings took place most frequently against African American men and women in the South. But I remind you that anywhere south of Canada is south in America!

Lynchings occurred most frequently from 1890 to the 1920s, a time of political suppression of blacks by whites, with a peak in 1892. Lynchings were also very common in the Old West, where the victims were African American men. Most of the South was dominated politically by conservative Democrats. Lynching was part of the informal system of enforcement of white supremacy in the late 19th century following Reconstruction.

The number of lynchings in the South is also strongly associated with economic strains, although the causal nature of this link is unclear: low cotton prices, inflation, and economic stress are associated with higher frequencies of lynching. The granting of U.S. Constitutional rights to freedmen after the American Civil War during the Reconstruction Era (1865–1877) aroused anxieties among white Southerners, who were unwilling to concede such social status to African Americans, especially in areas of black concentration.

The whites blamed the freedmen for their own wartime hardship, economic losses, and loss of social and political privilege. During Reconstruction, freedmen and whites active in the pursuit of civil rights were sometimes lynched. Also, blacks were intimidated and attacked physically to prevent them from voting, with violence increasing around elections from 1868 into the late 1870s to suppress the black, Republican vote.

White Democrats regained control of state legislatures in 1876 and a national compromise on the presidential election resulted in the removal of federal troops and official end of Reconstruction in 1877. In later decades, there continued to be violence around elections to suppress black voting, particularly with the rise of the Populist Party and some victories by Populist-Republican Fusion candidates in the 1890s.

From 1885 to 1908, southern states passed new constitutions and electoral rules to disenfranchise most blacks, ending election violence by utterly excluding them from politics. The dominant whites enacted a series of segregation and Jim Crow laws to enforce blacks’ second-class status. During this period of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Lynchings reached a peak, reflecting the social repression and hard economic times.

Florida led the nation in lynchings per capita from 1900-1930. Georgia led the nation in lynchings from 1900-1931 with 302 incidents, according to The Tuskegee Institute. Lynchings peaked in many areas when it was time for landowners to settle accounts with sharecroppers. The Tuskegee Institute recorded 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites being lynched between 1882 and 1968, with the annual peak occurring in the 1890s, at a time of economic stress in the South and political suppression of blacks. A five-year study published in 2015 by the Equal Justice Initiative found that nearly 3,959 black men, women, and children were lynched in the twelve Southern states between 1877 and 1950.

African Americans mounted resistance to lynchings in numerous ways. Intellectuals and journalists encouraged public education, actively protesting and lobbying against lynch mob violence and government complicity in that violence. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as numerous other organizations, organized support from white and black Americans alike and conducted a national campaign to get a federal anti-lynching law passed.

African-American women’s clubs raised funds to support the work of public campaigns, including anti-lynching plays. Their petition drives, letter campaigns, meetings and demonstrations helped to highlight the issues and combat lynching.[10] In the Great Migration, particularly from 1910 to 1940, 1.5 million African Americans left the South, primarily for destinations in northern and mid-western cities, both to gain better jobs and education and to escape the high rate of violence. From 1910 to 1930 particularly, more blacks migrated from counties with high numbers of lynchings.

From 1882 to 1968, “nearly 200 anti-lynching bills were introduced in Congress, and three passed the House. Seven presidents between 1890 and 1952 petitioned Congress to pass a federal law.” In 1920 the Republican Party promised at its national convention to support passage of such a law. In 1921 Leonidas C. Dyer from St. Louis sponsored an anti-lynching bill; it was passed in January 1922 in the United States House of Representatives, but a Senate filibuster by the Southern white Democratic block defeated it in December 1922. With the NAACP, Representative Dyer spoke across the country in support of his bill in 1923 and tried to gain passage that year and the next, but was defeated by the Solid South Democratic block.

Decades later, during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, violence erupted again, with attacks and murders of black activists throughout the South, and bombings in Birmingham, Alabama of homes of aspirational African Americans. In 1964 three Mississippi civil rights workers were lynched, abducted, shot and killed by KKK members including Neshoba County law enforcement. These galvanized national public support for federal civil rights and Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ending segregation, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to enforce constitutional rights to vote.

Lynching has evolved today to where the slave catchers (police) just shoot blacks dead! I would be remissed if I did not include lynching done for mere entertainment by white! This was terror by any form of sane thinking upon blacks and in many cases sanctioned by the American governments! And that is my thought provoking perspective…


Master Teacher: Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Listen to Dr. John Henrik Clarke give a powerful history lesson on the subject of Slavery and Resistance from 1776-1865. One of Dr. Clarke’s most powerful statements: To hold a people in oppression you have to convince them first that they are supposed to be oppressed.

This is a history lesson I am sure you have never been taught.

YOU MUST LISTEN!!!


The War That Has Never Ended

007_10000The prolific French writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire made one of the most profound statements in the history of speech. He said, “History is a pack of tricks we play upon the dead.” In other words, rarely will you get truth; rather what you will get is what I call “His-Story.” For example, the president of the NRA once made a comment telling his troops that “Southerners refer to the Civil War as the war of northern aggression”. This seems to be an ingrained position when you consider that today there are some talking about secession.

If you are not aware, this year marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, a war that has in many ways never ended. Over that time, the story has been told with many untruths, unreal assessments, and in some cases out and out lies. This was a critical point in time because such a divided nation faced an immoral crisis – itself! Just as it is today!

Everybody knows the war started in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, when Confederate batteries fired upon federal troops occupying Fort Sumter. Union forces surrendered the next day after 34 hours of shelling; the bloodiest war in the nation’s history had begun with the question of slavery at its core. There is no question this major event in the country’s history is significant. However, we should be candid about its causes and not allow the distortions of contemporary politics or long-standing myths cloud our understanding of why the nation fell apart.

So be prepared for a lot of misinformation that will surely come, as the debates relive this chapter of American history. The Tea-Party types and the revisionists will create many illusions pertaining to the facts as they relate to the realities of Civil War history. They will talk about liberty, especially among conservatives, to adjust the story to reflect contemporary political positions. One prominent recent effort occurred in Texas a few years ago when the state school board tried to revise social studies standards to increase the study of Confederate leaders and reduce emphasis on the Founding Fathers’ commitment to separation of church and state.

There have been moves to stop referring to the slave trade and substitute a euphemistic phrase, the “Atlantic triangular trade.” Some states conceded it erred in allowing a misleading textbook to be used in classrooms. For example, a disputed passage was a gross falsehood that says two battalions of African American soldiers fought for the Confederacy under famed Gen. Stonewall Jackson. To include language implying that slaves vigorously fought for the Confederate cause.

Before I go any further, let’s be clear, the war was NOT fought to free the slaves. That narrative came much later when the North was not winning and needed a reason to allow colored soldiers to fight. Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, although not a proponent of slavery, had no desire to end slavery at the onset of the war. The issue of slavery, as he stated, “was the morality and future of the slaves and slavery.” He believed if the nation remained divided on the issue of slavery, the nation would not last. If you recall he borrowed a statement made by Jesus to support this position; “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Actually, Honest Abe was considering the option of sending the slaves back to Africa or somewhere outside of America to solve the problem. IN FACT, as an experiment, he sent thousands to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This experiment was not successful because many became ill and died causing him to reevaluate the decision. He also had another plan, which was to acquire land in South America to host this unwanted population to include other locations as well.

On the other side, the southerners, secessionist, saw it this way. Confederate President Jefferson Davis, a major slaveholder, justified secession in 1861 as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration. Abraham Lincoln’s policy of excluding slavery from the territories, Davis said, would make “property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless . . . thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars.”

Views such as this continue today from in many quarters. Yes, one hundred-fifty year’s after the war’s end there remains enormous denial over the fact that the central cause of the war was our national disagreement about race, slavery, or more specific states’ rights. The historian Douglas Egerton says, “The South split the Democratic Party and later the country, not in the name of states’ rights but because it sought federal government guarantees that slavery would prevail… routinely shifted their ideological ground in the name of protecting unfree labor.” I believe it was all about states’ rights similar to today’s conservative perspective.

Let’s understand slavery was about one thing – economics. The institution and the economics derived from it built America, and that wealth made America a powerful force in the world as a result. Therefore, those who try to rewrite or obscure the reality of this wretched evil do so wishing the greatest crime ever inflicted upon a people never ended or that it would return. I suggest that you listen carefully to those who use the code word “States Rights” and hear what they are not saying.

The Confederacy broke up the United States and launched a war that killed 620,000 Americans in a vain attempt to keep 4 million people in slavery does not confer honor upon their lost cause. It’s been 150 years of folks, like then and now, trying to change the narrative to justify why the war was fought. Some say slavery. Some say tariffs. Others say the Constitution.

A captured Confederate soldier was asked while being marched off to prison, “Why are you fighting?” He was said to have grunted, “Because you’re here.” To him and other who share his views; we are here, and we are not going anywhere – “get over it”! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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