Brass Napoleon Award Black Southerners and the Confederate Cause--What the newspapers said: 1861-1865

Viper21

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John F. Harris and his speech in the Mississippi legislature in favor of a Confederate monument has been mentioned a few times in this thread, but the speech in its entirety has not been posted. They say these monuments represent slavery and Jim Crow, but here is a man who was an actual slave and lived under Jim Crow after the war. I am supposing it did not mean those things to him.

Clarion-Ledger (Jackson, Mississippi), February 23, 1890-


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Powerful..!!
 

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Andersonh1

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Sounds like he was playing the "Faithful Servant" card very well to curry local favor.

Kevin Dally
Like so many of these stories, we cannot know motives other than what the man himself says, so I'd need more evidence to accept your conclusion. He wasn't the only black man to speak in favor of Confederate monuments. Booker T Washington did as well, so this is not a unique instance.
kUkAETL.jpg
 
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Like so many of these stories, we cannot know motives other than what the man himself says, so I'd need more evidence to accept your conclusion. He wasn't the only black man to speak in favor of Confederate monuments. Booker T Washington did as well, so this is not a unique instance.
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George P Harrison

Named a Brigadier-General Of Volunteers 2/15/1865. Was Colonel of the 32nd Georgia.
 
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Tin cup

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Like so many of these stories, we cannot know motives other than what the man himself says, so I'd need more evidence to accept your conclusion. He wasn't the only black man to speak in favor of Confederate monuments. Booker T Washington did as well, so this is not a unique instance.
Wondering if these same folk got "pensions" from the State latter on for their pro-confederate stances?

Kevin Dally
 

Viper21

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Sounds like he was playing the "Faithful Servant" card very well to curry local favor.

Kevin Dally
Wondering if these same folk got "pensions" from the State latter on for their pro-confederate stances?

Kevin Dally
Something wrong with their own words..? Appears as a weak attempt to discredit the man, without evidence. I found Mr. Harris' speech very powerful. A great contribution to this Award Winning Thread. Big thumbs up to @19thGeorgia :thumbsup:
 

Viper21

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Your opinion.

Kevin Dally
Which part..?

Mr Harris' own words..? Nope. They're right there for you to read.

That you didn't provide evidence to discredit him..? Nope. Sure didn't. In fact, 147 pages, I haven't seen a single contribution to the thread from you. Just poo pooing others' contributions.

That this is an Award Winning Thread..? Nope. Says so right at the top.

That 19th's post about Mr Harris was a great contribution ..? OK. yes. It IS my opinion, 19th made a great contribution. I'm sure I'm not alone in that assessment.

I think everyone who has contributed newspaper articles to this thread has made great contributions. There's many folks who've done so. Tremendous contributions have been made by Anderson, East Tennessee, & 19th Georgia. Personally, I applaud their efforts. Anymore, whenever I find an article, & search the thread, it's already been posted. Finding new ones that aren't repeats is getting tough.
 

Tin cup

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Which part..?

Mr Harris' own words..? Nope. They're right there for you to read.

That you didn't provide evidence to discredit him..? Nope. Sure didn't. In fact, 147 pages, I haven't seen a single contribution to the thread from you. Just poo pooing others' contributions.

That this is an Award Winning Thread..? Nope. Says so right at the top.

That 19th's post about Mr Harris was a great contribution ..? OK. yes. It IS my opinion, 19th made a great contribution. I'm sure I'm not alone in that assessment.

I think everyone who has contributed newspaper articles to this thread has made great contributions. There's many folks who've done so. Tremendous contributions have been made by Anderson, East Tennessee, & 19th Georgia. Personally, I applaud their efforts. Anymore, whenever I find an article, & search the thread, it's already been posted. Finding new ones that aren't repeats is getting tough.
You applaud their efforts, I'm not stopping you.

Kevin Dally
 

19thGeorgia

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Wondering if these same folk got "pensions" from the State latter on for their pro-confederate stances?

Kevin Dally
The name John Harris is not found among the Mississippi Servant Pensioners
I believe poverty ("indigent"/no means of support) was one of the requirements to get a pension. Harris was a lawyer and most likely not in that condition.
 

Tin cup

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I believe poverty ("indigent"/no means of support) was one of the requirements to get a pension. Harris was a lawyer and most likely not in that condition.
I'd hate to think what would have happened to him if he was AGAINST said monument!:O o:

Kevin Dally
 

Andersonh1

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A black servant of a Confederate officer, "fighting by his master's side" and killing black Union troops at Fort Pillow? Apparently so, and the writer of this 1867 article is amused that his man is elevated above the other former Confederates under the "Brownlow Constitution" when he was just like them during the war. He was "the bitterest rebel of all."

The Elk advocate. (Ridgway, Elk Co., Pa.) February 28, 1867
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A black servant of a Confederate officer, "fighting by his master's side" and killing black Union troops at Fort Pillow? Apparently so, and the writer of this 1867 article is amused that his man is elevated above the other former Confederates under the "Brownlow Constitution" when he was just like them during the war. He was "the bitterest rebel of all."

The Elk advocate. (Ridgway, Elk Co., Pa.) February 28, 1867
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gary

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It should be noted that papers that mention negroes fighting for the South are either northern papers or very late war (1865) Southern papers. It is rare to read a Southern account early in the war as it would challenge the notion that southern manhood could defend hearth and hone without the help of its negroes.
 

Andersonh1

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It should be noted that papers that mention negroes fighting for the South are either northern papers or very late war (1865) Southern papers. It is rare to read a Southern account early in the war as it would challenge the notion that southern manhood could defend hearth and hone without the help of its negroes.
I figured out early on that focusing strictly on combat did not give the full picture of black Southern involvement in the war, and also that the type of stories and the emphasis changes over the four years of the war. The amount of Southern newspapers also dwindles as areas are overrun by the Union army or paper and ink aren't available, etc., so that factors into the number of Southern reports you could expect to find later on. I'm not sure your statement is entirely accurate, but it is clear that editorials discussing armed black Southerners were a lot more numerous than the stories and rumors that inspired them.

Having said all that, I should take time to go through strictly combat related articles and note whether they originate from a northern or southern paper. I just did a count of all the wartime articles I have and the current total is 1,484. Not all are combat related of course, and that number doesn't include post-war articles.
 

Andersonh1

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Southern newspapers did not mind talking about free blacks volunteering to fight, even if those efforts ultimately came to nothing. Take the following, for example:

The Daily Dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861
The Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer has the following paragraph:​
Joe Clark, a colored barber of this city, has written a letter to Gov. Brown, offering to raise a company of free colored men, to be enlisted in the service of the State of Georgia in the present crisis. Whatever may be thought of the policy of enlisting soldiers of this cast, the offer is a patriotic one, and ought to show the "philanthropists" of the North that the free colored population of the South do not appreciate their efforts in behalf of the negro race. Joe served in the Indian war of 1836, and still limps occasionally from a wound received in that campaign.​

The motivation for the Daily Dispatch to comment on it is given: to them it demonstrates to Northern abolitionists that their help is not wanted. If volunteering to fight is good propaganda, it seems like actually fighting would be just as useful, but perhaps they did not see it that way.

Despite this self-serving motive, note that Joe Clark's offer is called patriotic, and his past military service is noted. When the free colored population of New Orleans organize, their past military service in the war of 1812 is also pointed out, and I have seen other instances in southern papers where free or slave participation in the War of 1812 or the Revolutionary War was mentioned, so this history was not buried. It was known.

In any case, this story which originated in a southern paper was reprinted in a number of newspapers, north and south:

0129 - The daily dispatch. (Richmond [Va.]) 1850-1884, January 29, 1861 - posted
0130 - The central Georgian. (Sandersville, Ga.) 1847-1874, January 30, 1861
0131 - Yorkville enquirer. [volume] (Yorkville, S.C.) 1855-2006, January 31, 1861
0201 - Daily Ohio statesman. (Columbus, Ohio) 1855-1870, February 01, 1861 - posted
0215 - The Caledonian. (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) 1837-1867, February 15, 1861
0221 - Holmes County farmer. (Millersburg, Ohio) 1857-1926, February 21, 1861 - posted
0412 - Memphis daily appeal. (Memphis, Tenn.) 1847-1886, April 12, 1861 - posted
0425 - Fayetteville observer. (Fayetteville, Tenn.) 1850-1966, April 25, 1861

Counting the Columbus Enquirer, that's at least six southern newspapers and three northern who ran this story. It is not difficult for me to understand a belief in the North that Southern black men would fight, given stories like this one. I have found no indication that Joe Clark's offer was accepted, but the simple willingness to make the offer demonstrates a mindset and contributes to the evidence that helped make those later military reports of black Southern soldiers plausible to northern readers.
 
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