South Carolina. Considering the time period, Southern Black slaves, in particular were put into a peculiar situation – and understandably faced with dilemma of “do I stay as a slave… or I do take the risk of escaping to be a free man”.
Before Robert Smalls, a trusted slaved, joined the Union Navy, he did serve in the Confederate Navy – eventhough many nowadays don’t acknowledge this because Smalls took the Confederate sea vessel (the Planter) and turned it over to the Union in order in secure freedom of his black Confederate crew, himself, and others from slavery. Needless to say, when it was discovered that Smalls had escaped, South Carolina placed a high bounty on his head. Smalls duties for the Confederacy included: piloting the Confederate ship, set up mines, and stocked the ship with ammo & supplies that the Confederacy needed that he transported.
The following black slave Confederates were part of his crew:
• Abraham Jackson
• John Smalls (no relations)
• Alfred Gourdine
• David Jones
• Jack Gibbes
• Gabriel Turner
Rather than say #HeritageNotHate .. let’s call this SOUTHERN HERITAGE FREEDOM!
Black women, many whom were slaves also contributed to the South. Some of them provided nursing care to the injured Confederate & Union wounded in battle. This representation was on the public display at that Mansfield War museum, in Mansfield, LA (Desoto Parish). Though I am pleased that at least this museum was thoughtful enough to prominently feature a black female’s contribution as shown in above photo; but throughout all my travels in the south, I have yet to find any statue erected (for the southern side) that reflects Women of the South who are black.
NEGRO SLAVES were requested by the Confederacy, when the Confederacy desperately needed them the most. I’ve seen numerous reports saying that negro slaves were the stomach of the Confederacy, rendering an invaluable service that the Confederacy could not had done without. CSA General Pemberton, who requested negro slave labor, has a statue. There’s hundreds of statues erected for even the Confederate horses. So where’s at least ONE statue that honors the thousands of negro slaves that did fortifications labor for the Confederacy?
BLACK SLAVES as Confederates. There’s some out there who have issues with me for spending too much time in giving voice to Black Southerners who contributed to South. Some have even asked that I stop talking too much about honoring Black confederates & to start refocusing my energy on white Confederates because statues of White Confederates are at risk of being taken down.
This is me at a Black Confederate monument in Canton, Mississippi in a cemetery that was erected for black slaves – Willis Howcott & the Harvey Scouts. How the hell can any white person who claims to supports anything Confederate, would dare be instructive on me for honoring my OWN race who were slighted when statues were erected mostly of the whites? Afterall I myself am a Southern woman, a descendent of southern black slaves who contributed to the South. The south & the Confederacy was built and relied heavily on the backs, labor, blood and sweat of black slave labor. Why should I be expected to give less attention to the preservation pf the history of Southern black slaves when history has ignored them. Black Southern slaves who contributed to the South are the most FORGOTTEN. And I will continue to speak up for black Southern ancestors – AFFECTIONATELY! I shall stay the course.
THE SOUTH. Surely we all can (or should) agree that Slavery was WRONG! Slavery should never be romanticized. However, I’m noticing majority of Southern heritage supporters look down on black Southern runaways slaves as though they committed treason; but also tend to speak endearingly with high favor of black slaves who never ran away. But they will rather prop up the freed black Confederate over a slave serving as body servant, because the latter reminds the public of slavery in the south.
From a BLACK slave descendant’s perspective, we favor all three – the runaway, slave, and freed.. but we do place higher regards for the runaway slave as a noteworthy legacy to be braggingly proud of.
Oftentimes its said in tit-for-tat defense of the South, that the North had black slaves too. Then my question is how many black slaves from the North were runaways that fled to the South to serve in the CSA military? We already know there were many freed & black runaways from the South who served in the Union. We also know that freed & black slaves from the south served in the CSA military.
But the bigger question is —> did ANY black RUNAWAY slaves from the south, escape from his master to join the Confederate military? That is a question I now ponder due to the dismissive nowaday attitudes towards them.
Black Confederate Statue? NOT! There are many within the Confederate support ranks who are referring to this statue as such. The unveiling of this statue was met with controversy because of the bitter feelings that some white southerners still have about the south losing the war and towards southern black slaves who fled to fight for the North. The state of Mississippi paid $300,000 for this statue which is located in Vicksburg. According to the write up for the 3 imageries, it does NOT identify the sculpted black men as Confederates. This statue represents blacks who served for the Union. Evidently, there’s hardly to not any statues erected in the physical likeness of blacks who contributed to the Confederacy. I’ve wondered for a long time as to why. According to National Parks Service, the figures for blacks who served for the Confederacy are reportedly unknown.
BLACK CONFEDERATE – Prince Greer(also known as Prince Graham). Born a slave in 1840 in South Carolina. He accompanied his master to war from Texas. After his master was killed in Ft Donelson, he transported the remains to a mortician in Nashville. Understandably, by Prince Greer still being a slave, he did not accompany his dead master’s remains back to Texas. So he remained behind in Tennessee to work with the mortician – in the exchange for room & board. He helped embalm thousands of Civil War dead on both sides. He became an expert at it. I feel that 3 states can claim this unsung hero – Texas, Tennessee & South Carolina.
After slavery had ended, he reportedly took up the last name of Graham. He died at the age of 44 in Nov 1884 in Nashville from being poisoned by a white woman pretending to be a mulatto who was living with him. The science through autopsy proved it was murder. Prince Greer is buried in the 1st black cemetery called Mount Ararat Cemetery, in Nashville, TN. I now hear it’s dilapidated. Unfortunately, he may not even have a headstone, much less a grave site stone that commemorates the contributions he rendered to the Confederacy & his help to pioneer in embalming to the South to the civil war dead.
MISSISSIPPI. My response to Andrew Williams’ reasoning behind his wanting removal of current state flag. Williams’ main reason behind why the current state flag must be removed is because he feels that the flag (with Confederate Battle flag emblem) relates to the Mississippi Declaration of Secession (which had some scathing racist remarks about keeping blacks as slaves).
Eventhough I agree that slavery was a horrifying act that should had never happened. And there is NO acceptable EXCUSE that can be given to make slavery alright. But where I differ with Williams is on the time period. I’m not going to misrepresent the history of my ancestors. Some of my black ancestors were born in Mississippi & who were later brought to Louisiana – all prior to 1865. The Mississippi state flag at that time was the Bonnie Blue & the Magnolia flag. The flag that represented my ancestors enslavement in the state of Mississippi as it relates to the state’s Secession document (according to Williams) could not had been the flag that he’s currently protesting on the behalf of my ancestors.
The current Mississippi state flag was not adopted until over 20 yrs after slavery was abolished. While I appreciate Williams’ caring words for innocent black slaves who did not start the war, but I still do not understand why he is connecting the current state flag in his argument with slavery in Mississippi, when it was the Magnolia & Bonnie Blue flag under which my ancestors were enslaved in that state.
SERIOUS QUESTION –> Aside from the director having 2 Black volunteers working on the premises, I want to know if this museum she operates have any displays of Black Confederates or any representation of Black people who contributed to the South? If not, then why?