Slave-Holders Knew Secession Was Doomed To Failure

Andersonh1

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South Carolina
This isn’t actually my inspiration or anything like it.

Even so, if you've posted it, it's reasonable to expect that you will be asked questions about the opinion or challenged about the conclusions. Who are the two historians you mention, and can they offer any thoughts to us on this topic?

On the first day that our COVID inoculations became effective, I had coffee with two award winning historians. We talked about the astonishing trove of tens of thousands of reports from an English spy in New York. He was spying on Portuguese slavers from 1850-62. It will totally rewrite the history of the anti-slave trade squadron operations.

One of the other topics they discussed was the Unionist slave-holders in the pre-war period. The counter secession aspect of slave-holding was new to me. I went home & started reading up on the topic. I have read endless secessionist slave-holders’ writing, but had never investigated the anti’s. It was a revelation. I decided to share my new insights with a post on CWT. There is always the chance that someone knowledgeable would contribute or stimulate someone to investigate like I had.

I included the reference to Bell’s 1858 speech because I found it very though provoking. Obviously, the posts replying to the thread do not reference any of Bell’s ideas or the economic realities that Unionist slave-holders found so alarming... even today they are the Casandras of their culture.

Between them & the Portuguese spy, it is a lot to digest.

This doesn't address my point, and I still hold that the thread title gives a flawed reading of history. However, I would be interested in learning more about Unionist slave owner opposition to secession, so what sources did you read that you would recommend?

I read some of Bell's speech about Kansas, and I can't help but wish these guys weren't so wordy. I have the same problem trying to read and digest what Calhoun wrote. They never use one word when fifty will do. But I do intend to read the rest of it and give it some thought.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Even so, if you've posted it, it's reasonable to expect that you will be asked questions about the opinion or challenged about the conclusions. Who are the two historians you mention, and can they offer any thoughts to us on this topic?



This doesn't address my point, and I still hold that the thread title gives a flawed reading of history. However, I would be interested in learning more about Unionist slave owner opposition to secession, so what sources did you read that you would recommend?

I read some of Bell's speech about Kansas, and I can't help but wish these guys weren't so wordy. I have the same problem trying to read and digest what Calhoun wrote. They never use one word when fifty will do. But I do intend to read the rest of it and give it some thought.
I don’t post people’s names online in an open forum like CST, it is not ethical. You are oh so right, Victorian era prose is often opaque. The thing that impressed me was Bell’s legal logic. Kansas & Nebraska was the opening salvo of the Civil War. Bell’s speech is an example of why secession was not justified. Nobody was attacking slavery where it already existed.

I don’t have a bibliography for the Unionist slave-holders yet. It is a very different filter from all the endless pro-secessionist writings I have gone over. Action speaks louder than words, of course, border states did not secede. All manner of local politics were involved, making breaking out individual elements a challenge.

I have spent years studying the institution of slavery & to a lesser degree my family’s place in it. I don’t have to read up on the economics of slave-holding. When you look at it from the point of view of a Unionist slave-holder, the evidence & logic are compelling. This is going to be an interesting exploration, no telling where it might lead.

Loyalty to the Whig party has been a consistent element in anti-secessionist slave-holder politics. That is a good place to start, I have found that reference on several places.
 
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Lubliner

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Please if I may beg a pardon, but I find the OP's modus operandi a bit deficient. First I must say, I enjoy (@Rhea Cole's) posts a lot. But the idea he presented unfortunately is built on a premise of fact instead of opinion. Please endure a simple analogy further from me; if a man went into Arizona and found a nugget near Salt River and came back and proclaimed 'Thar's gold in tha hills'; is it an opinion or fact? He found one piece of evidence, and Superstition's abound. May I please opine that more could be learned with less boldness of certain gold that may forever be hid, than just stating as a matter of fact one is of the opinion that more may be found. Humbly submitted; thank you.
Lubliner.
 

Joshism

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Location
Jupiter, FL
John Bell of Tennessee was the candidate of the Constitutional Union Party in the election of 1860. His name & the party he led is all but lost to history.

If Bell and the Constitutional Unionists have been marginalized I would say it's because:
  1. They were a very short-lived party from a single election that mostly existed to run a presidential candidate.
  2. The party was essentially the death rattle of the Southern Whigs.
  3. Yes, they won 3 Border / Upper South states (VA, KY, TN). But Missouri went for Douglas. Breckinridge carried AR and NC plus MD and DE. So only 3 of 7 states where their appeal should have been strongest. Bell had less than 13% of the popular vote.

Have candidates advocating calm and presenting themselves as the safe alternative to the two main noisy, controversial blowhards ever been successful at any level in US politics? Especially in an era like 1860 where party loyalty was especially high?

Did the Constitutional Unionists run any candidates other than Bell (Congress or state level)? Did any of them win?
 

Rhea Cole

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Joined
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
If Bell and the Constitutional Unionists have been marginalized I would say it's because:
  1. They were a very short-lived party from a single election that mostly existed to run a presidential candidate.
  2. The party was essentially the death rattle of the Southern Whigs.
  3. Yes, they won 3 Border / Upper South states (VA, KY, TN). But Missouri went for Douglas. Breckinridge carried AR and NC plus MD and DE. So only 3 of 7 states where their appeal should have been strongest. Bell had less than 13% of the popular vote.

Have candidates advocating calm and presenting themselves as the safe alternative to the two main noisy, controversial blowhards ever been successful at any level in US politics? Especially in an era like 1860 where party loyalty was especially high?

Did the Constitutional Unionists run any candidates other than Bell (Congress or state level)? Did any of them win?
You are exactly correct. Look what happened to Casandra. The fate of the party & clear thinking Unionist slave-holders is as old as it gets. It isn’t enough to be right. South Carolina rice production is a perfect example of why the Unionist were correct.

Rice production was the font from which wealth flowed to Charleston. The brutal reality was that the slaves on rice plantations had a very short productive working life. Malaria & a host of waterborne parasites combined with brutal working conditions to severely impact life expectancy. It was brute force & a steady flow of replacement “extras” from border states that kept the rice plantations in operation.

Almost from the first shot on Ft Sumpter, rice production plummeted. What should have been a nutritious easily transported source of nutrition to the army ceased production. It is epic that the very people who ignored the Casandra-like warnings of Unionist slave-holders were among the first to suffer the fate their hubris had in store for them. Homer would have been very proud of how the story played out.
 

wausaubob

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Joined
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Location
Denver, CO
If Bell and the Constitutional Unionists have been marginalized I would say it's because:
  1. They were a very short-lived party from a single election that mostly existed to run a presidential candidate.
  2. The party was essentially the death rattle of the Southern Whigs.
  3. Yes, they won 3 Border / Upper South states (VA, KY, TN). But Missouri went for Douglas. Breckinridge carried AR and NC plus MD and DE. So only 3 of 7 states where their appeal should have been strongest. Bell had less than 13% of the popular vote.

Have candidates advocating calm and presenting themselves as the safe alternative to the two main noisy, controversial blowhards ever been successful at any level in US politics? Especially in an era like 1860 where party loyalty was especially high?

Did the Constitutional Unionists run any candidates other than Bell (Congress or state level)? Did any of them win?
The former Whigs did not have many votes. But they were located in the cities that controlled much of the wealth in the slavery section of the USA in 1860.
1615645947774.png

https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/preliminary-report/1860e-08.pdf
Every state that had a strong and conservative banking sector also had once had a strong Whig party. And the populist Democrats hated the idea that a bank loan was an enforceable obligation and not a donation.
 

Rhea Cole

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Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Please if I may beg a pardon, but I find the OP's modus operandi a bit deficient. First I must say, I enjoy (@Rhea Cole's) posts a lot. But the idea he presented unfortunately is built on a premise of fact instead of opinion. Please endure a simple analogy further from me; if a man went into Arizona and found a nugget near Salt River and came back and proclaimed 'Thar's gold in tha hills'; is it an opinion or fact? He found one piece of evidence, and Superstition's abound. May I please opine that more could be learned with less boldness of certain gold that may forever be hid, than just stating as a matter of fact one is of the opinion that more may be found. Humbly submitted; thank you.
Lubliner.
I appreciate that you enjoy my posts. I work pretty hard on some of them. This morning, I received an email from a historian that I quit OED on this thread posting. His brief response echoed your post.

It wasn’t gold in them there hills, it was the lack of gold in them there rice paddies that is important. Carolina Gold rice built the fortunes of the hotheads that started the war. Almost before the echo of the first shot died, rice production plummeted. The ship loads of rice that were exported should have been a ready source of nutritious rations for both Lee & Bragg’s armies. Instead, white families fled & Carolina Gold rice, the world standard for quality disappeared.

Absent the brute force that forced the slaves to work & the free flow of extras from Virginia et al, rice production came to a halt. The impact that had on both the fortunes of SC elite secessionists & the logistics of the CSA army are not an opinion, theory or hobby horse crank’s fantasy. It is just the facts understood in a new more nuanced context.

The modern heirloom plant movement & culinary scene has, for the first time in 150 years brought Carolina Gold back onto the market. 32oz costs $23.00
 

Rhea Cole

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The former Whigs did not have many votes. But they were located in the cities that controlled much of the wealth in the slavery section of the USA in 1860.
View attachment 394089
https://www2.census.gov/library/publications/decennial/1860/preliminary-report/1860e-08.pdf
Every state that had a strong and conservative banking sector also had once had a strong Whig party. And the populist Democrats hated the idea that a bank loan was an enforceable obligation and not a donation.
That is a very interesting post. The whole Whig/Democrat divide is not one I had ever given much attention to. An article I just read about secessionist support in Texas was about how the vote for & against secession fell along those lines, not whether or not the voters were slave holders or not.
 
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Joshism

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Apr 30, 2012
Location
Jupiter, FL
I agree the Democrat-Whig divide could use further exploration.

Besides banking, Whigs were favored by some slaveowners. Specifically those who produced something other than cotton, products that did benefit from tariffs. Kentucky hemp, for example. Louisiana rice too, IIRC. SC rice growers might have drunk too deeply of the Calhoun-Aid.

Whigs were also the party of internal improvements. Southerners who wanted more and better canals, harbors, railroads, and lighthouses would (or should) have been Whigs.

Besides cotton slavery, Democrats preached the yeoman farmer gospel, carrying the standard of Jefferson and Jackson. Farmers had simple needs thus what good was a strong government? "What's in it for me, except protection from them negros?"
 

Rhea Cole

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Joined
Nov 2, 2019
Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I agree the Democrat-Whig divide could use further exploration.

Besides banking, Whigs were favored by some slaveowners. Specifically those who produced something other than cotton, products that did benefit from tariffs. Kentucky hemp, for example. Louisiana rice too, IIRC. SC rice growers might have drunk too deeply of the Calhoun-Aid.

Whigs were also the party of internal improvements. Southerners who wanted more and better canals, harbors, railroads, and lighthouses would (or should) have been Whigs.

Besides cotton slavery, Democrats preached the yeoman farmer gospel, carrying the standard of Jefferson and Jackson. Farmers had simple needs thus what good was a strong government? "What's in it for me, except protection from them negros?"
I like the Calhoun-Aide quip.
 

Lubliner

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Forum Host
Joined
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Location
Chattanooga, Tennessee
I appreciate that you enjoy my posts. I work pretty hard on some of them. This morning, I received an email from a historian that I quit OED on this thread posting. His brief response echoed your post.

It wasn’t gold in them there hills, it was the lack of gold in them there rice paddies that is important. Carolina Gold rice built the fortunes of the hotheads that started the war. Almost before the echo of the first shot died, rice production plummeted. The ship loads of rice that were exported should have been a ready source of nutritious rations for both Lee & Bragg’s armies. Instead, white families fled & Carolina Gold rice, the world standard for quality disappeared.

Absent the brute force that forced the slaves to work & the free flow of extras from Virginia et al, rice production came to a halt. The impact that had on both the fortunes of SC elite secessionists & the logistics of the CSA army are not an opinion, theory or hobby horse crank’s fantasy. It is just the facts understood in a new more nuanced context.

The modern heirloom plant movement & culinary scene has, for the first time in 150 years brought Carolina Gold back onto the market. 32oz costs $23.00
Okay, let us speak about the importance of rice, and the amount taken when Charleston was captured. It was reported on March 24, 1865 by Lieut. Col. A. G. Bennett, of the Twenty-first U. S. Colored Troops, who had lately commanded the post of Morris Island in the harbor.. He says of rice there were 150,000 bushels of rough rice and 150,000 pounds of clean rice. There were 4 rice mills operating in Charleston that were not destroyed upon evacuation. The commissary depot was blown up. Does this actual report conflict with your generalized statement about production rates and food for the armies?
I am not meaning to be rude whatsoever, but feel somewhat smothered by the parrying deflections you present. I also do not know what an OED is, but it really isn't a matter of importance, I am sure.
Lubliner.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
You are exactly correct. Look what happened to Casandra. The fate of the party & clear thinking Unionist slave-holders is as old as it gets. It isn’t enough to be right. South Carolina rice production is a perfect example of why the Unionist were correct.

Rice production was the font from which wealth flowed to Charleston. The brutal reality was that the slaves on rice plantations had a very short productive working life. Malaria & a host of waterborne parasites combined with brutal working conditions to severely impact life expectancy. It was brute force & a steady flow of replacement “extras” from border states that kept the rice plantations in operation.

Almost from the first shot on Ft Sumpter, rice production plummeted. What should have been a nutritious easily transported source of nutrition to the army ceased production. It is epic that the very people who ignored the Casandra-like warnings of Unionist slave-holders were among the first to suffer the fate their hubris had in store for them. Homer would have been very proud of how the story played out.
That´s highly interesting. Do you know something about the exact reasons why the rice production decreased?
I am asking because I read Ball´s "Slaves in the family" and remember that the white families left plantations more towards the end of the war (at least that´s what I am recalling)
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
That´s highly interesting. Do you know something about the exact reasons why the rice production decreased?
I am asking because I read Ball´s "Slaves in the family" and remember that the white families left plantations more towards the end of the war (at least that´s what I am recalling)
The USN / Army combined operations began almost immediately after Sumpter. Fort Pulaski fell, effectively closing the Savannah River. The coastal Islands were occupied very early on. The command & control of slaves along the coast was disrupted. Rice production depended a free flow of goods & replacement labor that no longer existed. The slaves themselves, in many cases,
simply left to their own devices.

My wife’s g-g-grandad was on the 3rd Georgia V.I. Their first deployment was to defend one of the barrier islands. The campaign was a farce capped off by the loading of artillery on a barge during the withdrawal. As soon as the barge reached deep water, it flipped over. All of the artillery was lost. The 3rd’s history reports that the enraged general used language that they had never heard applied to themselves before to express his low opinion of them.

Well before the Emancipation Proclamation, coastal self-liberated slaves were formed into regiments. The whole fabric of rice plantation culture shattered & was never put back together again.
 

Piedone

Corporal
Joined
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The USN / Army combined operations began almost immediately after Sumpter. Fort Pulaski fell, effectively closing the Savannah River. The coastal Islands were occupied very early on. The command & control of slaves along the coast was disrupted. Rice production depended a free flow of goods & replacement labor that no longer existed. The slaves themselves, in many cases,
simply left to their own devices.

My wife’s g-g-grandad was on the 3rd Georgia V.I. Their first deployment was to defend one of the barrier islands. The campaign was a farce capped off by the loading of artillery on a barge during the withdrawal. As soon as the barge reached deep water, it flipped over. All of the artillery was lost. The 3rd’s history reports that the enraged general used language that they had never heard applied to themselves before to express his low opinion of them.

Well before the Emancipation Proclamation, coastal self-liberated slaves were formed into regiments. The whole fabric of rice plantation culture shattered & was never put back together again.
I casted a quick glance into "Slaves in the Family" - though I don´t know if it´s still state of the art being twenty years old now.

I found the following accounts:

"The rice harvests, in any case, continued on time until the end of the Civil War, with no black revolt and only the slightest evidence of sabotage." (p.322)

"There is no circumstantial evidence for the way the Ball slaves took the news of war. Work continued, but William´s notes show that between 1860 and 1861, harvests on five of his plantations declined sharply, falling a full third. The precipitous drop may have been due to poor weather - or just perhaps, there was a work slowdown." (p.328)
 

Rhea Cole

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Joined
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I casted a quick glance into "Slaves in the Family" - though I don´t know if it´s still state of the art being twenty years old now.

I found the following accounts:

"The rice harvests, in any case, continued on time until the end of the Civil War, with no black revolt and only the slightest evidence of sabotage." (p.322)

"There is no circumstantial evidence for the way the Ball slaves took the news of war. Work continued, but William´s notes show that between 1860 and 1861, harvests on five of his plantations declined sharply, falling a full third. The precipitous drop may have been due to poor weather - or just perhaps, there was a work slowdown." (p.328)
You might want to widen your net a bit. This topic is not my specialty, but I am sure that there are plenty of books about the Gulla-Geechee culture in South Carolina. I am aware of the National Park Gulla Geechee Historical Corridor from almost annual trips to Daufuskie Island, etc. My granddaughters do the beach while I do the history.
 

DanSBHawk

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Joined
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Location
Wisconsin
I have handled Jack Hinson's rifle quite a few times. It belongs to a friend of mine here in Murfreesboro. I took a measured drawing from it for a gunsmith, so you can say that I carefully examined every square inch of it.

I also did a document search. The book about Henson's exploits is a work of fiction. For example, the Iowa regiment that hunted down Henson's eldest son spent the entire war along the Mississippi. In the book, Henson wreaked vengeance on the officers of that regiment... didn't happen. In fact, during their months in that area, they did not suffer a single casualty, not one. During the war, given their service, they suffered remarkably few casualties. Henson might well have murdered some random Union soldiers, but he certainly did not shoot any men of the Iowa regiment that captured his son.

A very knowledgable shooter & gunsmith I know has gone up to the position where Henson shot at the passing river traffic. He tells me that it was in fact possible, once he became accustomed to the downward angle, for Henson to fire accurately from there. The story of Henson causing a steamboat to heave to & surrender is, of course pure bunkum. Any reading about the river war will reveal the fact that river traffic was sniped at all the time. Never once did a peashooter caliber rifle firing at most 3 rounds a minute stop a steamer.

Now comes the interesting part. Nobody actually knows what the two sets of marks on the barrel of the rifle indicate. They are certainly there, I have very carefully measured & drawn them. Henson never said a word, so it is literally is anybody's guess what they mean. Keep in mind, that the area along the Tennessee / Kentucky border was infested with gangs of banditti that were only vaguely associated with one side or another. It is possible that Henson hunted some of them down & eliminated them as a public service... he never said, nobody knows.

The son that the Hawkeyes ran down & killed was a really nasty piece of business. The guerrilla bands in that area were pretty indiscriminate, so he probably made himself obnoxious to a lot of people. Scholars & folklorists have examined every aspect of Henson's life & legend. The only think certain is that the version in the popular book about him is only vaguely associated with the truth.

The rifle itself is, I am told, a very typical example of a target rifle of the time. .36 cal as I recall. As was common, the hammer is from a pistol, it looks totally out of proportion. The reason for that was because the heavy hammer typical of military rifles has enough momentum to pull the rifle off target as it swings forward & strikes the cap.
Absolutely agree. The tall tales about Hinson fall apart as soon as anyone bothers to look at the evidence, or lack of evidence is more like it.
 

Piedone

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You might want to widen your net a bit. This topic is not my specialty, but I am sure that there are plenty of books about the Gulla-Geechee culture in South Carolina. I am aware of the National Park Gulla Geechee Historical Corridor from almost annual trips to Daufuskie Island, etc. My granddaughters do the beach while I do the history.
???
 

Rhea Cole

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Joined
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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
The Gulla-Geechee culture was created by the Prople who were kidnapped from the West Coast of Africa. For centuries, West Africans had cultivated rice. Coastal South Carolina was perfect for the cultivation of rice. British & Colonial slave-holders hadn’t a clue how to grow rice. It was the knowledge of various African tribal traditions that made the fabulous fortunes of South Carolina rice planters.

The rice plantations were isolated & very few whites lived there. Malaria & generally miserable weather kept them away. The amalgamation of West African tribal groups led to a language called Gulla or Geechee. Doctrinal dissertations have been written about the differences between the two. They are still living languages today.
 
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Piedone

Corporal
Joined
Oct 8, 2020
The Gulla-Geechee culture was created by the Prople who were kidnapped from the West Coast of Africa. For centuries, West Africans had cultivated rice. Coastal South Carolina was perfect for the cultivation of rice. British & Colonial slave-holders hadn’t a clue how to grow rice. It was the knowledge of various African tribal traditions that made the fabulous fortunes of South Carolina rice planters.

The rice plantations were isolated & very few whites lived there. Malaria & generally miserable weather kept them away. The amalgamation of West African tribal groups led to a language called Gulla or Geechee. Doctrinal dissertations have been written about the differences between the two. They are still living languages today.
I do thank you for that advice.
I remember having read about the Gullah culture earlier - wasn´t it an inspiration to DuBois and Gershwin (IIRC)?
The reason why I used question marks (which of course was somehow blunt - I do apologise for that!) was because I could see no real connection between our conversation before and your last post - to a point where I asked myself if you maybe just confounded two different threads.
 

Rhea Cole

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Location
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
I do thank you for that advice.
I remember having read about the Gullah culture earlier - wasn´t it an inspiration to DuBois and Gershwin (IIRC)?
The reason why I used question marks (which of course was somehow blunt - I do apologise for that!) was because I could see no real connection between our conversation before and your last post - to a point where I asked myself if you maybe just confounded two different threads.
Perhaps more to the point is the history of the 1st South Carolina (Colored) infantry regiment. It was the first officially recognized black unit of the Union Army. It predated the Emancipation Proclamation. It was made up of self-liberated individuals from the S. Carolina & Florida coast that were formed up on Hilton Head Island in 1862. Every once & awhile I have run into someone who blithely claims that there were no Union regiments from SC. Like your quote from Mr. Bell, the conscious or unwitting attempt to erase the contribution of self-liberating people in the fight for their own freedom is ongoing.
 
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