SOUTHERN HERITAGE for long time in public discourse, displays, and mainstream Southern history of achievements of black Southerners, has been excluded. One of the reasons they were/are being excluded was/is because of bigoted hatred for Reconstruction period in which newly freed southern blacks benefited from … to rise from slavery to prominent position as politicians.
Had it not been for Reconstruction, Blanche Kelso BRUCE a born slave of Virginia, would not had opportunity to win public office – as it was during that era that republicans pushed the 14th & 15th Amendment, after slavery was abolished.
Blanche Bruce was a runaway slave, who became the 1st Black US Senator to preside over a Senate Session. He was a Republican as most black politicians were during Reconstruction. While there was opposition against racial minority veterans, Bruce fought for Asians would were denied citizenship even though they militarily served this nation. He fought for Native Americans who were treated unfairly. He fought for black military service members who faced racism & violence in US armed forces, and he pushed for racial desegregate in the US Army. And after he left the senate in 1881, he REFUSED a political appointment to position as Foreign Minister to Brazil because Brazil practiced slavery. Yes slavery of blacks was still going on in Brazil until about 1888.
Blacks were & are Southerners too.
SOUTHERN WHITE-on-SOUTHERN WHITE RACISM still alive & well in the SOUTH. It’s part of Southern Heritage since Civil War/Reconstruction era. I was informed that “Scalawag” means “White Southern Ni**** Lover”.
About 7 months ago I was informed that “Scalawag” is a racial slur that most white southerners use against other white southerners who helped blacks gain their right to vote. And advised with caution that I should never utter that word again not even in private because some white people’s use of that word was same as calling a white Southerner a “Ni**** Lover” who risked & lost their lives for blacks. White Southerner informed me that his white relatives who were Confederate veterans were killed from helping freed black slaves seek public office as Republicans in 1870s Louisiana.
This was in response to my uttering that word in casual conversation. When asked where I 1st learned that word, my reply was that it was at white school (MB Smiley High School) where I was forced bussed to in late 60’s as part of desegregation during heated Humphrey/Wallace presidential race. White teachers taught civil war, told black students that “Scalawag” was a Southern spy who turned against the south by helping burn down the south in the civil war. Therefore, I assumed that was the proper term.
Then I was informed that there’s NO monuments erected in the South to memorialize white Confederates veteran Republicans of Reconstruction era that helped newly freed black slaves with their civil rights .. and who lost their lives in doing so. I didn’t realize I was taught wrong, and I won’t use the racist word “Scalawag” anymore. Btw, the word scalawag is not a typical vocabulary that’s used in black households.
Words by itself don’t have meaning until people give it meaning.
VIRGINIA. Again, and unfortunately the Confederate Battle Flag symbol is being increasingly used in connection with race hate & threats towards the Black race. And this time in a full blown KKK ad that’s on front page of news paper.
To add confusion to insult, the ad ends with the words “DEO VINDICE”, which is a commonly used salutation or utterance of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV).
Keep in mind that Black people are SOUTHERNERS too, who have black southern ancestors, albeit slaves, who contributed a invaluable service of labor to the South. This racially horrifying ad also is an attack on the memory of the sacrifices that most enslaved Black ancestors rendered to the South. We repudiate these racial attacks in this ad, as well as those who support it.
Oftentimes, many white southerners nowadays keep trying to tell black southerners what they as a race of people descending from slaves “think” or “believe” on matters concerning their OWN Southern Heritage – particularly on matters of slavery and the civil war. And there’s this bad habit of being instructive in telling black southerners about their OWN history, when black people have already received instructions from their black elders about WHO they are, where they come from & stories of what happened. To make matters worse, many have gone so far as to be instructive so as to tell black southerners who they should chose to honor as their heros. Not all southerners are in lockstep on this matter of Southern Heritage as to who they celebrate and honor. Some black southerners may have preference to Patrick Cleburne but perhaps not for the same reason as some southern whites. Some white southerners have no problem with embracing the “Slavery” clause in the CSA secession documents, whereas most black southerners who love the south, do NOT embrace the Secession documents as written. Some white southerners idolize CSA Vice President Alexander Stephens, whereas most Black Southerners, for good reason, despise the man.
Many white southerners wrongly assume that most southern blacks are stupidly supportive of Abraham Lincoln because of Emancipation Proclamation. 1st of all, the fact that black southerners do not celebrate January 1st (date that Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863) should be a clue ! For that matter, blacks do not even celebrate December 6th (date that slavery was officially abolished via 13th Amendment in 1865). Therefore the continued instructions to black southerners as to what Lincoln & the Emancipation Proclamation did or did not do, is unnerving to say the least. Most southerners are fully aware of how Abe felt towards black slaves & the institution of slavery, as this is preached on repeatedly at Juneteeth Day events. For that matter, the black elders are instructive on this.
The first NAACP State Conference was held and started in Chickasha, Oklahoma in 1932, where the NAACP Nationals held its first convention. At that time NAACP had the most NAACP local branches; and prior there were no NAACP State Conferences (headquarters representing each state). Roscoe Dunjee was the 1st President of the President of Oklahoma NAACP State Conference. Most assume that Mississippi was the first, but their NAACP state conference did not start until 1945.
According to Oklahoma’s NAACP branch president, Miller Newman, there was an all white NAACP Branch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma which is located in Osage County.
Before the Brown vs Board of Education case, the desegregation of public education was tested and won in Oklahoma FIRST with Sipuel v. Board of Regents of University of Oklahoma in 1948.
NAACP, which is the oldest Civil Rights organization is the the United States, was formed in 1909.
President Trump and the White House finally updated their internet sites with National proclamation to commemorate 50th Anniversary of Assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, to reflect on this day, April 4th, in Rev. King’s honor. Rev. King, a southern minister and civil rights leader born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. He was also the first president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Within the text of this proclamation, Trump also gave shout out to President Abraham Lincoln as follows —> “President Abraham Lincoln sought to eradicate the senseless divisions of racial hierarchies when he issued the Emancipation Proclamation”.
Most history of southern heritage speaks of contributions made by white southerners of the 1800s during and shortly after the civil war. Not so much is spoken of contributions made by blacks for that time period. A greater treatment on the subject matter of black southerners can be found in studies that cover the Reconstruction era.
After slavery was officially abolished, newly freed black men entered into politics and joined the Republican Party. Most white southern men who were Confederate veterans were Democrats at that time. Even though some black southern men who joined the Republican Party during Reconstruction did contribute to the Confederacy (voluntarily or otherwise), there was still some racial bitterness towards them, as the black republicans ushered in Civil Rights which was opposed by most white Democrats.
There’s a book entitled “Black Americans In Congress 1870 -2007″ that reportedly has information on every black American who served in Congress from 1870 (which was the year that the 1st black American took office in Congress). My review of this book is pending.
Blacks portrayed in “Gods and Generals” movie – reportedly in a deleted scene on the Confederate side. As of this writing, I have not yet viewed this movie to verify the rumor. There was a scene of black men (most whom were slaves) in a Confederate camp sitting around campfire singing “Steal Away to Jesus”. One of black men had just been freed by his master who was killed in battle and he was to bring the remains back to his family. The discussions between the men revealed the life of black men during that period – decisions as to what to do with their lives (“wait & see” , runaway if not freed, join Union, head North to join runaway family). There was acknowledgement that the Civil War was an engagement between white men. Black slaves were caught up in the middle of the killing. Although one of the black men in this movie had just been freed, it appeared that his duty was not to the Confederate military, as his obligated presence ended with the death & safe return of his Master’s (Boss) remains to his family.
Slavery as an institution and especially the relationship between black slave and their master, was most peculiar during the Civil War on the Confederate side. Of most importance on a black man’s mind was his “FREEDOM” from slavery, even though the future of a slave or newly freed black man was uncertain. Very rare if any are there Civil War movies that show the participation of blacks on the Confederate side (freed or slave). It’s sort of like the rare sight of statues in the physical likeness of blacks for the South for that time period, even though the South had an overwhelmingly large black population.
SOUTHERN HERITAGE. Negro Spirituals are big part of this heritage. The song that comes to mind was “Steal Away To Jesus”, that was usually sung at black funerals, particularly in the segregated south – dating back to times of slavery. Sometimes it’s sung while the pallbearers carried the casket to the burial.
This Negro spiritual – was authored by slave Wallace Willis from Oklahoma Territory (who was probably in Mississippi at the time) prior to Civil War.
Here’s what the song sounds like – sung by 2 southerners —> Mahalia Jackson & Nat King Cole. Jackson is from Louisiana. Cole is from Alabama.
LEAGUE OF THE SOUTH (LOS) and Complacency. Most people color, especially with deep ancestral southern roots, take offense to the degrading of Black Southern ancestors of the 1800s. However, there’s a pro-white southern group called “League of the South” who while defending Confederate monuments, has expressed that the South does not belong to Blacks. Furthermore, in the above news interview, it’s representative disparage the worth of ancestral southern black ancestors – based on skin color.
First of all, just about all things Confederate (flags and monuments), has been vilified not because of what any black representation. It’s because of the actions of a group of representing whites.
The irony of this situation is that while many who publicly support Confederate and Southern Heritage at rallies, they question why the obvious lack of black support; but then they are complicit in the racial conduct. When the news media (after bearing witness to the racial activity) lumps all whites with Confederate flags together as a unit, the white Confederate supporters began to wonder why they are labeled.
Whereas, many blacks in America, understandably do not consider July 4th as Independence Day, some tend to view June 19th (Juneteenth) as the official liberation date for enslaved blacks. For yrs there has been unsuccessful proposals & attempts in the South to get Juneteenth declared as the official “Black American Slave Liberation Day” because many blacks feel that Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation did not officially end slavery of their ancestors – which it did not.
Slavery of Blacks in US was officially abolished by the ratifying of the 13th Amendment – which was on December 6, 1865. That really should be the official date for a National Proclamation signing .. and that should be the date for Celebrating. It’s a date that descendants of black slaves can relate to, moreso than the awkwardness of July 4th. December 6th should never be forgotten.
SOUTHERN HERITAGE. Contributions, Accomplishments and History of Southern blacks are usually hidden in the history of the Reconstruction Era, which is an era that appears to be a taboo subject matter these days amongst many white Confederate supporters. That is the era where Southern blacks (the men) 1st gained right to vote & 1st gained right to hold political office.
Take Florida for instance, whereby the FIRST black person elected to US House of Representatives from that state was in 1871 – namely Josiah Walls (a former slave). He was elected as a Republican. It took 135 years later after Walls left office for Florida to elect its next black republican to US House of Representatives – in 2011 (Allen West was the next & last). This is not well known. And I suspect that it’s because of Reconstruction period that most try to hide from black people. But this is a HISTORICAL period important to Southern blacks.
Another piece of hidden history is that Josiah Walls served in the Confederate army – albeit forcibly as a slave; but nonetheless he did contribute. However, it does not appear that Walls gets credit for the service he rendered & he’s rarely if ever ever mentioned in Confederate support circles nowadays. Afterall Walls is a historical figure.
I strongly urge every Southern black person who has Southern ancestry to research the Reconstruction Era as much as possible. It might not be a popular nor a desirable subject matter amongst many White Confederate supporters, but within the Reconstruction era lies much of the recorded HISTORY of Southern blacks & the accomplishments they have done for their race of people.