African American History

Myths & Misunderstandings | Black Confederates

 

By John Coski
Historian

Myth: Thousands of enslaved and free African American soldiers fought for the Confederacy

For several decades, the question of whether or not there were “Black Confederates” has been one of the most controversial issues in the study of Civil War history.  The disagreement arises in part from rival ideological positions, but also traces to different definitions of key terms, especially “soldier.”

Myths & Misunderstandings | Stonewall Jackson's Sunday School

 

By Chris Graham
Mellon Curator

In 1891 the pastor of Thomas Jonathan Jackson’s Lexington Presbyterian Church, William S. White, declared that the Virginia Military Institute professor had been “the black man’s friend.” White said so because of Jackson’s supervision of a “Colored Sunday School” between 1855 and the outbreak of the Civil War.

Myths & Misunderstandings | Lee as a slaveholder

 

Earlier this summer, comments on one of our Facebook posts sparked a larger conversation about recurring debates about the Civil War. We asked our visitors, social media audiences, and staff to generate a list of the questions or topics about the Civil War that they think are the most misunderstood. In providing answers to these, our goal is to do the research for you, consulting with primary sources, leading historians, and the latest scholarship, and distill it into something you can read quickly over a cup of coffee.

Myths & Misunderstandings: The North and Slavery

Earlier this summer, comments on one of our Facebook posts sparked a larger conversation about recurring debates about the Civil War. We asked our visitors, social media audiences, and staff to generate a list of the questions or topics about the Civil War that they think are the most misunderstood. In providing answers to these, our goal is to do the research for you, consulting with primary sources, leading historians, and the latest scholarship, and distill it into something you can read quickly over a cup of coffee.

By Adrian Brettle
Mellon Fellow

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