Discussion The American Civil War Museum’s CEO on the Myths That Persist About Our National Conflict

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#1
This came out today I think it's very interesting and I'm sure many can debate about it.
I myself found near the end of it a surprising statement: "Northerners tend to dismiss the conflict into this sort of, ‘We won and we’re done and we freed the slaves.’ Really? Did you? Where’s the black agency? The South absolutely went to war to preserve slavery, but the North didn’t go to war to end slavery. It was the actions of black people and their allies that would change the war’s aim and we miss it because it’s never been presented to us this way."

Enjoy- The entire article here: https: //observer.com/2019/05/christy-coleman-american-civil-war-museum-ceo-on-the-wars-myths-interview/
 

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uaskme

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#2
Good for Her. I think her view, should be the most excepted. Her presentation gives credit to African Americans. It is about Time. Prime example of trying to oversimplify a complex set of circumstances. The North didn't go to war to end Slavery. We know for sure, African Americans did Fight to End Slavery, they fought every day. God Bless them. and hopefully this Yankee Myth will Die.

Good to hear a perspective from a Black Historian.
 
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#3
Black agency was certainly important, but probably not as important as she makes it out to be. Historians now tend to deprecate "paternalism," but if it hadn't been for the efforts of white humanitarian paternalists, emancipation would have taken a lot longer. Blacks simply didn't have the power to do it all on their own.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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#4
I think that the fact emancipation happened is far more important than who gets credit for it.

I think the black-agency theme is something that was there all along, but it was mostly submerged among other elements of the conflict. (I would imagine that if there was no "agency," there would have been very little for any abolition movement to work with, for one thing.)
 

uaskme

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#5
All of the Agency, other than (Black), that was there, was there for the reason of making the World a better place for Whites.

Blacks were looking out solely for Blacks. During the EP. Yankees were forcing large numbers of Blacks back to their Masters. The overwhelming numbers of Blacks, made for an alternate plan. Blacks Emancipated themselves. They found ways to use chaos to their Advantage.

At some point, it will be considered Flat Earth for Whites who try to take credit for Black Achievement.
 
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#6
I noticed this in the fairly new film at the Antietam Visitor's Center (narrated by James Earl Jones--greatest narrator's voice ever). The film made the important point that Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation didn't free any slaves immediately, and didn't purport to free any other than those behind Confederate lines. The film says something like, "But it was a start. After that, African-Americans took it from there." (showing an image of USCT). Interesting to see this narrative emerging into prominence.
 

archieclement

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#7
Black agency was certainly important, but probably not as important as she makes it out to be. Historians now tend to deprecate "paternalism," but if it hadn't been for the efforts of white humanitarian paternalists, emancipation would have taken a lot longer. Blacks simply didn't have the power to do it all on their own.
I tend to agree, as I have pointed out before the history of civil rights is in large part the history of the majority, as they are the ones who account for new attitudes, and enact all the legislation to change the laws.

Minorities can certainly help to try to incite and bring about change......but the change actually comes from the majority.
 

Mark F. Jenkins

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#8
At some point, it will be considered Flat Earth for Whites who try to take credit for Black Achievement.
This doesn't make any sense. If minorities have no allies outside their minority, their cause doesn't tend to progress much. Ideally, in our society, that shouldn't matter, but in fact it does (because majorities often effectively control, either de jure or de facto, the government and courts).

The abolition of slavery was a victory for the former slaves, certainly, and that should always take center stage. But it was also a victory for friends of freedom and liberty everywhere, most particularly those who risked (or gave) their lives for their 'neighbors.'
 
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#9
Black agency existed before the war, then there was a war and a short period of federal supervision of black civil rights, and then that ended and there was still black agency.
Despite black agency, it probably would have taken another 20 years, until 1884, for the southern areas to realize that they would have to end slavery. But even after the real Civil War, it does not appear that was any other time prior to 1964 that the 14th and 15th Amendments would have been ratified. Its doubtful that there have ever been 3/4ths of the states committed to black Civil Rights. That would require a 38/12 ratio after 1960.
When US army withdrew from the south, and the Posse Comitatus bills passed, Jim Crow was established.
 
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#10
The real agency of the blacks in the Civil War were the thousands of black soldiers that helped win the war. Thousands more free blacks took menial jobs in the navy. But 10s of 1,000s became teamsters, railroad workers, freight handlers, and pioneers for the US war effort. It took less training, exposed them to less risk, but was absolutely vital to keep US logistics rolling.
 
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#11
I think the US navy had much more to do with the abolition of slavery than was realized. They saw the conditions of the slave trade. They were embarrassed by the US complacency in tolerating the slave trade. It was also the naval officers who travelled the world and saw the US obsession with race was the exception, not the rule. It was the navy that integrated, and the navy that captured places like New Orleans, that were profiting on the internal slave trade.
 
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#12
From the NY Times archives: https://www.nytimes.com/1862/05/22/...e-and-abolition-the-lyonsseward-treaty-a.html
When the US navy no longer wanted to argue about British enforcement of the ban on slave trading, the die was cast and it came up snake eyes for slavery. The black abolitionists, particularly Frederick Douglass, were instrumental in keeping the pressure on to achieve Lord Palmerston's long sought goal.
 



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