Discussion South Carolina: New Bill introduced for a monument to Black Confederates

19thGeorgia

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Apr 4, 2017
There were over 700 free blacks who were enlisted in South Carolina units and thousands of slaves did labor duty in support of the army. About 1,000 of these men were either killed in battle or died of sickness or disease. The recognition is long overdue.

"African-American Confederate Veterans Monument"

"To amend the code of laws of South Carolina, 1976, by adding Section 10-1-181 so as to provide for an African American Confederate Veterans Monument; and by adding Section 10-1-182 so as to establish an African American Confederate Veterans Monument Commission, to provide the composition of the commission, to provide the powers and duties of the commission, to establish a deadline for the submission of a proposed design and location of the monument, and to provide for the dissolution of the commission."
https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess124_2021-2022/bills/4247.htm
 
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Andersonh1

Brigadier General
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Location
South Carolina
Thanks for sharing, I'm glad to see this bill has been reintroduced during this session. I have written to my SC representative in support of this bill and offered to send the evidence I have if that's useful to him. I'd love to see this monument standing on our State House grounds, and see this history taught in our schools.

Whereas, we find the exclusion of African American Confederate soldiers in the current academic standards to be completely unacceptable, that this type of manipulation and exclusion of facts in historic record and representation creates a distorted perspective of our State and national history, and to exclude, neglect, or otherwise disregard the contributions of African American Confederate soldiers is a gross disrespect to their service and memory; and​
Whereas, all people should know of, and remember, African American Confederate soldiers who served South Carolina and the United States during the War Between the States and others, and it is in fact vital to educate our citizens on their stories during the war and afterwards; and​
Whereas, it is the policy of the State of South Carolina that the history of the African American Confederate soldiers, the depth of their impact in our society, and the triumphs of African American Confederate soldiers and their significant contributions to the development of this State and our nation is the proper concern of all people, particularly students enrolled in the schools of the State of South Carolina; and​
Whereas, it is therefore desirable to create an organized body to survey, design, encourage, and promote the implementation of education and awareness programs in South Carolina concerned with African American Confederate soldiers' stories and the contributions of African American Confederate soldiers in building our State and country, to develop workshops, institutes, seminars, and other teacher-training activities designed to educate teachers on this subject matter, and to be responsible for the coordination of events on a regular basis, throughout the State, that provide appropriate memorialization of the events concerning African American Confederate soldiers and their descendants in South Carolina and the United States, as well as their contributions.​
 
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DanSBHawk

1st Lieutenant
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Wisconsin
Thanks for sharing, I'm glad to see this bill has been reintroduced during this session. I have written to my SC representative in support of this bill and offered to send the evidence I have if that's useful to him. I'd love to see this monument standing on our State House grounds, and see this history taught in our schools.

Whereas, we find the exclusion of African American Confederate soldiers in the current academic standards to be completely unacceptable, that this type of manipulation and exclusion of facts in historic record and representation creates a distorted perspective of our State and national history, and to exclude, neglect, or otherwise disregard the contributions of African American Confederate soldiers is a gross disrespect to their service and memory; and​
Whereas, all people should know of, and remember, African American Confederate soldiers who served South Carolina and the United States during the War Between the States and others, and it is in fact vital to educate our citizens on their stories during the war and afterwards; and​
Whereas, it is the policy of the State of South Carolina that the history of the African American Confederate soldiers, the depth of their impact in our society, and the triumphs of African American Confederate soldiers and their significant contributions to the development of this State and our nation is the proper concern of all people, particularly students enrolled in the schools of the State of South Carolina; and​
Whereas, it is therefore desirable to create an organized body to survey, design, encourage, and promote the implementation of education and awareness programs in South Carolina concerned with African American Confederate soldiers' stories and the contributions of African American Confederate soldiers in building our State and country, to develop workshops, institutes, seminars, and other teacher-training activities designed to educate teachers on this subject matter, and to be responsible for the coordination of events on a regular basis, throughout the State, that provide appropriate memorialization of the events concerning African American Confederate soldiers and their descendants in South Carolina and the United States, as well as their contributions.​
The phrase "African American Confederate soldiers" is used repetitively in the wording, rather than a more accurate description of slaves accompanying Confederate soldiers, or free and enslaved blacks used as laborers, cooks, etc.

It's obviously pushing the agenda of the Black Confederate mythology.
 

C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
In truth while it would be nice to see the new monument being constructed, I don't really feel it is entirely necessary.
There is already a wonderful monument to the Confederate Dead on the SC Statehouse grounds that honors the Southern dead. As I don't feel that the wording on the monument excludes those Confederates of Color who served, another monument would be a bit superfluous. Now a plaque, or additional marker added to the existing monument site noting the fact that African-American Confederate Veterans were not given pensions until 1923 would be a bit more in keeping and I think a welcome addition -- and to far less expense to the taxpayers (could even be done with private funding).
Regardless of what is done the fact that the effort is being made to honor these Confederate veterans of color is a positive step and one that I happen to applaud wholeheartedly.
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
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Location
South Carolina
Now a plaque, or additional marker added to the existing monument site noting the fact that African-American Confederate Veterans were not given pensions until 1923 would be a bit more in keeping and I think a welcome addition

There were a few black men who got pensions as early as 1886.

The Abbeville press and banner. (Abbeville, S.C.) 1869-1924, June 09, 1886
View attachment 341707


The Manning times. (Manning, Clarendon County, S.C.) 1884-current, May 08, 1889
View attachment 343259


The Manning times. (Manning, Clarendon County, S.C.) 1884-current, July 17, 1889
Hb5iM6m.jpg


The Anderson intelligencer. (Anderson Court House, S.C.) 1860-1914, August 15, 1889
fMGc2lH.jpg
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
Feb 6, 2010
Location
District of Columbia
This will cause some controversy, obviously.

I have frequently made the point that a full and proper representation of the African American experience on the commemorative landscape is key, that must be the overriding goal. In 1860, SC was a majority black state, with 402,406 enslaved people, 291,300 whites, and 9,914 free blacks. If the goal is to make a monument about 700 black enlisted men, while the experience of the black majority that is not so enlisted is ignored, I can see where that causes a problem.

Beyond that fundamental and overarching issue, there is going to be real debate over the handling of enslaved laborers.

image5.jpg

Claim receipt for compensation to a slave owner, Peter Gaillard Stoney of South Carolina, for the loss of his slave Toby. Toby died while building military fortifications in the Charleston area.
Source: railsplitter.com, a site for the sale of Civil War era collectibles.


In 1864, an enslaved person known as Toby paid the ultimate price for his enforced servitude. He died while building fortifications in South Carolina. The monetary compensation for the loss – $1900 – indicates that Toby was considered a valuable slave. The payment went to the owner, who might have felt the loss of a slave – perhaps someone considered a loyal slave – on different levels. It is unclear if Toby’s family received a share of the monies.

Toby, of course, could not have died for his country… he had no country. As a slave, he was no more a citizen of the Confederacy than a horse or a mule. It was his role as a human beast of burden that would position him for his deadly enterprise, such as it was.

Toby’s death underscores the fact that many more people died during the war than are counted on military death rolls. And no doubt other men, black or white, Confederate or Union, died under similar conditions. These are the uncounted casualties of the Civil War.

If Toby had died while doing the same work on a plantation, it would not be a cause for commemoration - or at least, it hasn't been. Is this loss to be commemorated because it happened at a Civil War site? Is his enslavement to be honored because it happened to be beneficial to the Confederate government; or is any use of slave labor problematic? Should we not be explicitly expressing sorrow that he died, being denied life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; even as the government of his home state was determined to maintain him in a state of degradation and deprivation? What kind of symbolism and meaning should be attached to such memorialization?

As I say, I imagine there will be more controversy as this proceeds.

- Alan
 

Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
Joined
Jan 12, 2016
Location
South Carolina
This will cause some controversy, obviously.

I have frequently made the point that a full and proper representation of the African American experience on the commemorative landscape is key, that must be the overriding goal. In 1860, SC was a majority black state, with 402,406 enslaved people, 291,300 whites, and 9,914 free blacks. If the goal is to make a monument about 700 black enlisted men, while the experience of the black majority that is not so enlisted is ignored, I can see where that causes a problem.

There is a monument that attempts to depict the historical black experience in SC that is on the South Carolina State House grounds. I've been to the grounds a number of times, and if I'm spending time enjoying the various monuments on the grounds I always take the time to look at this one.

The African-American Monument is the work of Colorado sculptor Ed Dwight, who has created several works of art celebrating African-American life. Standing two floors high and spanning 25 feet, the memorial tells the story of African-Americans in South Carolina from their arrival during the slave trade to the modern age. According to Dwight, the demilune shape of the monument reflects an African village built in the round.​
-------------------​

An obelisk bearing a plaque in honor of sculptor Ed Dwight stands before the monument, and an image representing human bodies packed into a slave ship sailing the Middle Passage rests on the ground in front of the obelisk (seen below). The African-American Monument is said to be the first of its kind on any statehouse grounds in the United States.​

https://www.scpictureproject.org/richland-county/african-american-monument.html

I think we can certainly afford to also install a memorial to the men who enlisted and served in the CS army, in whatever capacity.
 

ForeverFree

Major
Joined
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Location
District of Columbia
This will cause some controversy, obviously.

I have frequently made the point that a full and proper representation of the African American experience on the commemorative landscape is key, that must be the overriding goal. In 1860, SC was a majority black state, with 402,406 enslaved people, 291,300 whites, and 9,914 free blacks. If the goal is to make a monument about 700 black enlisted men, while the experience of the black majority that is not so enlisted is ignored, I can see where that causes a problem.

- Alan
There is a monument that attempts to depict the historical black experience in SC that is on the South Carolina State House grounds. I've been to the grounds a number of times, and if I'm spending time enjoying the various monuments on the grounds I always take the time to look at this one.

I think we can certainly afford to also install a memorial to the men who enlisted and served in the CS army, in whatever capacity.
I am familiar with that monument. I go back to the question: is there a full and proper representation of the African American experience on the commemorative landscape?

Wiki has a List of Confederate monuments and memorials in South Carolina here. The list is huge, almost overwhelming. Given that Africans Americans were over 50% of the state's Civil War population ~ most of whom were enslaved ~ you would think that there would be a similar number of such monuments featuring the state's black folks. But we know this is not the case.

That one monument comes nowhere near to addressing the obvious disparity in memorializing the state's majority population during the war.

But this is not just a numbers game. Right off the top of my head I can suggest a number of events that deserve commemoration, and more fully represent the state's history:

• The First South Carolina Volunteer Infantry was the one of the first five officially recognized black units of the Union Army during the Civil War. The First South Carolina Volunteers were deployed almost two months before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued on January 1, 1863. On January 1, they were issued regimental colors and “officially” accepted into the Union Army. In February 1864 they became officially the 33rd United States Colored Troops Regiment. This is past due for separate recognition.

• Harriet Tubman is famous for her work on the Underground Railroad. But less famously, she gathered intelligence for, and helped plan and lead, raids of plantations along the Combahee River. Working with forces that included colored troops, the raids freed over 700 people from bondage. This is many times more than the people she freed via the Underground Railroad. This is past due for separate recognition.

• On May 1, 1865, in Charleston, South Carolina, recently freed African-Americans held a parade of 10,000 people to honor 257 dead Union soldiers, whose remains they had reburied from a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. This is one of many events that led to the Memorial Day tradition. The fact of these folks showing such appreciation for Union men is a big deal. This is past due for separate recognition.

• In a similar vein, Union troops entering Columbia and Charleston were met with trepidation by whites, but cautious hope and even joy by many African Americans. This meeting of enslaved people and the Union deserves separate memorialization.

• The Sea Islands were the home of the famous Port Royal Experiment. Or, it should be famous. Make it at least notable by giving it a monument.

Efforts have already been made to create a monument for Robert Smalls in Columbia. Smalls was the most prominent South Carolina African American of the 19th century. He self emancipated his family and crew members aboard a ship they basically stole and delivered to the Union Navy. He was a de facto ambassador for enslaved people to Northern politicos when his fame brought him to Washington, DC and other places; he saw combat duty as a ship pilot during the war; he was a post-war business man; and he served several terms in the US Congress. There is a monument to him in Beaufort, but by itself it's inadequate. Again, this is the most important black person in the state for the 1800s, and he deserves the same prominence given to important white figures of that century.

• In Washington, DC, it's April 16; in Richmond, VA, April 3rd; in many places it was January 1st; and in Texas it's Juneteenth. South Carolina should have its own, state specific Emancipation Day. Darn it, over half the people in the state were freed from bondage! How can that not be a big deal? That should be celebrated, and monuments commemorating freedom should be installed throughout the state as well.

Any and all of these would be preferable to a monument to 700 black enlistees in the Confederate Army. Also important, these monuments can't just be located in Charleston and Columbia. If there can be dozens of commemorative objects for the Confederacy throughout the state, there should be dozens of monuments that represent the state's majority population during the Civil War. I think the issues with the disparity in memorialization objects, and the lack of representation of so many events in the state's history, are going to be problem for this proposed monument. We'll see.

- Alan
 
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Andersonh1

Brigadier General
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Location
South Carolina
I am familiar with that monument. I go back to the question: is there a full and proper representation of the African American experience on the commemorative landscape?

How many black citizens of South Carolina care about this issue, and have taken steps to add to the commemmorative landscape? Monuments exist because people cared enough about a person or an event to start the process of having one installed. Yes, the white population has had a major head start, to say the least, but there's nothing preventing the black population from adding to the landscape. Are they doing so? It doesn't have to be government-led either, it can be local groups pushing for representation. The groups I'm familiar with in the upstate where I live are focused on tearing things down rather than constructing new ones. My question would be this: does anyone care enough to commemmorate any of the items you listed, or others? If not, why? If so, are there organized efforts that people can support in some way?

I would support more memorials to black history in South Carolina. Where are the efforts to put up monuments to people and events that I can get behind?
 

Rhea Cole

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Murfreesboro, Tennessee
We are all adults here. If survey are correct, we are of a generation for whom the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s is a living memory. As we know, this Black Confederate thing was created whole cloth as a reaction to the honest retelling of individuals of African descent during the CW era.

The of the end of official, active suppression of the true narrative was a seismic shock, I witnessed it personally. The avowed Kluxers I knew went ballistic.

In 1860 over 60% of the population of SC were slaves. 35,000 or so influential while male slave-holders seceded explicitly to guarantee the right to hold other human beings as property. Ignoring the tens of thousands of self-liberated people who continued to the defeat of that self declared elite to celebrate some cooks & body servants that received CSA pensions is, at best misguided. Miss Scarlet & Shirley Temple aren’t telling the story of slaveholding anymore.
 
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ForeverFree

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District of Columbia
My question would be this: does anyone care enough to commemmorate any of the items you listed, or others? If not, why? If so, are there organized efforts that people can support in some way?
My experience being a volunteer at the African American Civil War Museum in DC is that people just don't know the history. I understand that many of the folks on this forum are teachers, and that they go out of their way to teach this stuff. But so many people I've spoken to over the years have said, "Why wasn't I taught about this? How did that happen? Why are they keeping this history from us?"

I see these monuments as teaching tools. What people don't get in school, maybe they'll get from these monuments.

There is a monument to US Colored Troops outside the African American Civil War Museum. The founding director of the museum said he hopes the monument will inspire people. And sometimes it does. Big thing is, we are not blaming others for what they don't know. We're making it our job to tell them what they don't know.

I would support more memorials to black history in South Carolina. Where are the efforts to put up monuments to people and events that I can get behind?
I'm here in DC so I can't help you with that. I haven't been out and about doing CW since March last year. Having said that, throughout the South there are a number of blacks folks in the re-enactor community who would love to work with anybody who's interested in the history, and they are a great resource. I don't have any contacts myself, I work with people via the Museum. But note that, they are not into creating monuments as much as they are into teaching living history and perfecting their craft as reenactors.

If you are going to embark on this project, I wish you a strong wind.

- Alan
 

C.W. Roden

Formerly: SouthernFriedOtaku
Joined
Dec 3, 2019
Location
South Carolina, USA, Earth
This will cause some controversy, obviously.

I have frequently made the point that a full and proper representation of the African American experience on the commemorative landscape is key, that must be the overriding goal. In 1860, SC was a majority black state, with 402,406 enslaved people, 291,300 whites, and 9,914 free blacks. If the goal is to make a monument about 700 black enlisted men, while the experience of the black majority that is not so enlisted is ignored, I can see where that causes a problem.

Beyond that fundamental and overarching issue, there is going to be real debate over the handling of enslaved laborers.

View attachment 400977
Claim receipt for compensation to a slave owner, Peter Gaillard Stoney of South Carolina, for the loss of his slave Toby. Toby died while building military fortifications in the Charleston area.
Source: railsplitter.com, a site for the sale of Civil War era collectibles.

In 1864, an enslaved person known as Toby paid the ultimate price for his enforced servitude. He died while building fortifications in South Carolina. The monetary compensation for the loss – $1900 – indicates that Toby was considered a valuable slave. The payment went to the owner, who might have felt the loss of a slave – perhaps someone considered a loyal slave – on different levels. It is unclear if Toby’s family received a share of the monies.

Toby, of course, could not have died for his country… he had no country. As a slave, he was no more a citizen of the Confederacy than a horse or a mule. It was his role as a human beast of burden that would position him for his deadly enterprise, such as it was.

Toby’s death underscores the fact that many more people died during the war than are counted on military death rolls. And no doubt other men, black or white, Confederate or Union, died under similar conditions. These are the uncounted casualties of the Civil War.

If Toby had died while doing the same work on a plantation, it would not be a cause for commemoration - or at least, it hasn't been. Is this loss to be commemorated because it happened at a Civil War site? Is his enslavement to be honored because it happened to be beneficial to the Confederate government; or is any use of slave labor problematic? Should we not be explicitly expressing sorrow that he died, being denied life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; even as the government of his home state was determined to maintain him in a state of degradation and deprivation? What kind of symbolism and meaning should be attached to such memorialization?

As I say, I imagine there will be more controversy as this proceeds.

- Alan
Certainly, but the debate will be healthy.
 

AshleyMel

Sergeant Major
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
Efforts have already been made to create a monument for Robert Smalls in Columbia. Smalls was the most prominent South Carolina African American of the 19th century. He self emancipated his family and crew members aboard a ship they basically stole and delivered to the Union Navy. He was a de facto ambassador for enslaved people to Northern politicos when his fame brought him to Washington, DC and other places; he saw combat duty as a ship pilot during the war; he was a post-war business man; and he served several terms in the US Congress. There is a monument to him in Beaufort, but by itself it's inadequate. Again, this is the most important black person in the state for the 1800s, and he deserves the same prominence given to important white figures of that century.
I'd like to offer some additional thoughts on this, in my experience as a native of the state, Robert Smalls is not marginal, in fact, he's a pretty big deal.
I can personally attest we learned and studied about this amazing man in school as early back as I can remember. I've travel along the Robert Small Parkway that goes over to Port Royal and have friends who attended Robert Smalls Middle School (now Robert Smalls International Academy). There is also a Robert Smalls School in Cheraw, SC. The Robert Smalls House is on Prince Street and is a National Historic Landmark. My husband, who used to work as a tour guide on the horse drawn carriages remembers very well his tour presentation including the house, Robert Smalls and his role in South Carolina history. There is a monument and statue where he is interred at the Baptist Church and The Verdier House has a Robert Smalls exhibit. On a larger scale, one of his grandsons, worked with the South Carolina State Museum and several scholars on a traveling exhibit. Could there be more representation for this man, sure, absolutely, and I know it would be welcomed as there is always benefit to increasing our knowledge, but Robert Smalls does have prominence in South Carolina - at lease in my experience. To say the monument to him in Beaufort is inadequate is a bit confusing to me.
 
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Andersonh1

Brigadier General
Moderator
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Location
South Carolina
We are all adults here. If survey are correct, we are of a generation for whom the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s is a living memory. As we know, this Black Confederate thing was created whole cloth as a reaction to the honest retelling of individuals of African descent during the CW era.

The Civil Rights movement was before my time, I'm afraid. The South you describe is not one that I've ever personally seen. And I've found too much discussion of "black Confederates" in wartime newspapers and in the decades following the war to ever accept that the idea is a modern invention, because it clearly isn't. Hence my support for the bill to construct this monument and teach this history in our schools.
 
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