Camp 1524 Camp Dispatch Commanders Column for February 2014
February is Black History Month. To commemorate, WAKA is airing “Signs of Slavery” detailing signs of black slavery in the Montgomery region. My favorite early morning radio personality, Kevin Elkins argued the relevance of regurgitating this history saying Montgomery doesn’t “need another damn sign of slavery.” He suggested instead they should air a program presenting examples of a new generation of black citizens and entrepreneurs, a positive message. Of course his callers were most entertaining, one recommending listeners read the book “The New Jim Crow” which regurgitates the oppression and disadvantages and disproportionate incarceration of the black community. Always looking to the government for solutions, another caller said “this country did not make black people whole”. Unsure what exactly that means but he repeated it quite a few times as if he was proud of his sound bite. Kevin again highlighted the inordinate black-on-black crime and murder rate in Montgomery and said “Signs of Slavery” has no redeeming quality and that the broadcast will serve only to anger another generation about long past injustices. One caller countered with a recommendation for reading, Star Parker’s “Uncle Sam’s Plantation.” Kevin’s in-studio guest rightly pointed out that our country provides unlimited possibilities and opportunities and many programs, scholarships and grants are targeted specifically to minorities.
While the black community in Montgomery clings to their heritage seeking primarily to commemorate negativism, our organization, the Sons of Confederate Veterans seeks to honor our Confederate ancestors who sought to preserve a form of government and liberty created by our Revolutionary forefathers and the framers of the Constitution. Communications Officer Crowley forwarded a video which provided an interview with Nelson Winbush, a black member of SCV Camp 1516. His grandfather fought alongside Nathan Bedford Forrest in the 7th TN Cavalry. He proudly showed photos and the pension application from his grandfather explaining that he joined the SCV after the NAACP declared war on Confederate heritage in 1990. The history books promote racism ignoring the historical record that there were 200,000 free blacks in the South in 1861 many of whom were actually prosperous plantation slave owners. Of course as we learned at January’s camp meeting, the institution of slavery was promulgated by the North. The Confederate Veteran magazine cover article “The American Dream” explains that only when it became economically advantageous did the Northern states gradually eliminate slavery in favor of a cheaper system of factory laborers. But these laborers and blacks in the North were generally treated to far worse living and working conditions than those in the Southern states. Black units in the Union Army were basically used as underpaid cannon fodder. In contrast, of the 47 blacks who served under Forrest, 45 of them were with him when he laid down arms at the end of the War and he espoused that he knew no better Confederate soldiers.
Tens of thousands of blacks served in the Confederate Army and militias. These links provide some good facts regarding their service - http://www.usgennet.org/usa/mo/county/stlouis/blackcs.htm, http://www.blackconfederatesoldiers.com/index.html . The many black Confederate soldiers appreciated the system of government which the Confederate States attempted to establish and eagerly defended the Cause. I just had the opportunity to visit the Marietta (GA) Confederate Cemetery. The last Confederate burial there in 1933 was that of UCV member William Yopp, Ten Cent Bill. He followed his master Captain Thomas Yopp into battle and twice rescued and nursed him to health. After the War he wrote an autobiography and used the proceeds to help the veterans in the Marietta Confederate Veterans Home where he eventually resided with Thomas. Upon his death he was buried with full military honors. There are countless black patriot heroes who have fought and died for our country in the wars of the 20th and 21st century too. The migration of blacks to the New World and onto the plantations where they were introduced to Christianity and the revival in the Confederacy which evolved into the Bible Belt of the South is of course of eternal significance and consequence. I agree with Kevin, there are more worthwhile stories to be told for Black History Month.