African Americans and the American Civil War
|African American Civil War History
|Honorable Frederick Douglass
Highlights of the numerous individuals, places and events in African
American History; furthermore, each page offers numerous links to additional African American history, heritage, achievements,
accomplishments, photographs, pictures, resources and material. This is a comprehensive website related to "Nineteenth-Century
African American history."
In February 1862, 800 prisoners of war (officers and enlisted men) arrived
at Camp Chase. Included among the 800 Confederate soldiers were approximately 75 African Americans.*
13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Missouri Compromise of 1820 (Pivotal Moment
in the Slave Trade)
Compromise of 1850 (Definition, Details and
Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 (Impact on Slavery)
The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave Law (Proposals, Acts,
Proclamations, Amendments, Debates, and Compromises)
The Compromise of 1850 and the Fugitive Slave
Results of the Fugitive Slave Act: Diary and Memoirs
Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (Significance
Bleeding Kansas (aka Bloody Kansas and the
Crittenden Compromise (A Pivotal Proposal
in US History)
Abolitionist John Brown (History, Memorials,
Freedmen's Bureau History: History Homepage
President Abraham Lincoln (The Northern
and Southern Viewpoints)
President Abraham Lincoln on Race (What did Lincoln really think
about the Black Race?)
Was Lincoln a Racist? (Interview with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University
Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University)
Turning Points of the American Civil War
Reconstruction Era and Acts 1865-1877 (Timeline, History, Amendments,
Acts, Rules, Codes, Military Rule, Laws, Rights, Freedmen Bureau, 40 Acres and a Mule, Union Readmission, Aftermath)
*Phillip R. Shriver and Donald J. Breen, Ohio's Military Prisons in the
Civil War for the Ohio Historical Society (Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press, 1964) 12-14.
Reading: The Sable Arm: Black Troops in the Union Army, 1861-1865 (Modern War Studies). Description: A
bona fide classic, The Sable Arm was the first work to fully chronicle the remarkable story of the nearly 180,000 black troops
who served in the Union army. This work paved the way for the exploration of the black military experience in other wars.
This edition, with a new foreword by Herman Hattaway and bibliographical essay by the author, makes available once again a
pioneering work that will be especially useful for scholars and students of Civil War, black, and military history. Continued
Civil War Times
Illustrated: "One of the one hundred best books ever written on the Civil War."
Recommended Viewing: "Glory". Description:
One of the best films about the Civil War...
Fact Based film about a 25-year-old son of Boston abolitionists who volunteered to command the all-black 54th Massachusetts
Volunteer Infantry Regiment. A Stunning history about the heroic Fighting 54th and its bravery which
turned bitter defeat into a symbolic victory; brought recognition to black soldiers;
turned the tide of the war; shifted national attitudes regarding colored soldiers; and etched a legacy in the annals
of American history. Won 3 Oscars: another 9 wins & 10 nominations.
Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Andre Braugher,
and Matthew Broderick comprise an all-star cast and give stirring and emotional performances. "Great for every
family, classroom and American." Five Stars by americancivilwarhistory.org
Viewing: Slavery and the Making of America (240 minutes), Starring: Morgan Freeman; Director: William R. Grant. Description: Acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman narrates this compelling documentary, which features a score by Michael
Whalen. Underscoring how slavery impacted the growth of this country's Southern and Northern states; the series examines issues
still relevant today. The variety of cultures from which the slaves originated provided the budding states with a multitude
of skills that had a dramatic effect on the diverse communities. From joining the British in the Revolutionary War, to fleeing
to Canada, to joining rebel communities in the U.S. the slaves sought freedom in many ways, ultimately having a far-reaching effect
on the new hemisphere they were forced to inhabit. AWARDED 5 STARS by americancivilwarhistory.org
Reading: Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement. Description: With all the
flair of his last-second game-winning sky hooks, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar delivers a well-written and important collection highlighting
the lives of America's greatest black
heroes. Taking his title cue from John Kennedy's Profiles in Courage, Abdul-Jabbar brings to life the exploits of a wide variety
of African Americans, including Estevanico, a Moorish slave who discovered Arizona and New Mexico; Cinque, a kidnapped African
slave who led a mutiny aboard the slave ship Amistad and later won his freedom in the U.S.; and Harriet Tubman, who brought
hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Continued below...
In a time when
the media beams negative images of African Americans around the world, Black Profiles in Courage is indispensable for young
adults of other races as well as African-American youth, showing that attributes like courage are not coded by color. For
those young blacks who feel distant from America because of racism, books like this are a small but potent antidote against
prejudice, reminding them of the important contributions African Americans have made to their country.
Reading: Like Men of War.
Description: Although countless books have been written about the Civil War, the role of black
troops has been consistently underrepresented until recently. Nearly 180,000 of them fought--mostly for the North, but a handful
even took up arms for the slaveholding South. Many wanted to serve at the start of the conflict, but a variety of factors
kept them on the sidelines. Until Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
in 1862, many Union leaders--including the president--held that the war was not about slavery. Racist views caused some to
question further the value of black soldiers; there was also genuine concern about how Confederates would treat captured blacks.
But, as Noah
Andre Trudeau reveals, black soldiers demonstrated bravery and professionalism from the moment they suited up. He recounts
well-known events, such as the 54th Massachusetts' attack on Fort Wagner, as well as less familiar ones, such as blacks' involvement in the war's last
directed combat one month after Lee's surrender. There were atrocities, too: in 1864, Confederates slaughtered black prisoners
of war at Fort Pillow
(historians once disputed this brutal act of cold-blooded murder, but many scholars accept it as true today). Although Trudeau
sometimes sacrifices his narrative drive to excessive detail, Like Men of War remains a compelling book full of strong battle
Reading: Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees
in Civil War Virginia (A Nation Divided : New Studies in
Civil War History). Description: Despite its unwieldy
title, this stout volume is an invaluable addition to African American and Civil War history, a meticulously researched and
detailed collective portrait of the nonwhite population of Virginia,
the leading state of the Confederacy. Beginning with a large, capable, and diverse African American population, free as well
as slave, Virginia found itself, as fear warred with the need for labor, both increasing and decreasing restrictions on it.
At the same time, that African American population, unanimously in favor of freedom
and better lives, was thoroughly divided (yes!) as to which side it should support in order to achieve these goals. Not easy
reading and clearly most useful to the serious history student, this is an eminently worthwhile candidate for U.S.
history collections, nonetheless.
Reading: The Negro's Civil War: How American Blacks Felt and Acted During the War for the Union.
this classic study, Pulitzer Prize-winning author James M. McPherson deftly narrates the experience of blacks--former slaves
and soldiers, preachers, visionaries, doctors, intellectuals, and common people--during the Civil War. Drawing on contemporary
journalism, speeches, books, and letters, he presents an eclectic chronicle of their fears and hopes as well as their essential
contributions to their own freedom. Continued below...
words of these extraordinary participants, both Northern and Southern, McPherson captures African-American responses to emancipation,
the shifting attitudes toward Lincoln and the life of black soldiers in the Union army. Above all, we are allowed to witness
the dreams of a disenfranchised people eager to embrace the rights and the equality offered to them, finally, as citizens
of the United States.
Recommended Reading: Freedom
for Themselves: North Carolina's Black Soldiers in the Civil War Era. Description:
than 5,000 North Carolina slaves escaped from their white
owners to serve in the Union army during the Civil War. In Freedom for Themselves, Richard Reid explores the stories
of black soldiers from four regiments raised in North Carolina.
Constructing a multidimensional portrait of the soldiers and their families, he provides a new understanding of the spectrum
of 'black experience' during and after the war. Continued below...
Reid examines the processes by which black men enlisted and were trained,
the history of each regiment, the lives of the soldiers' families during the war, and the postwar experiences of the veterans
and their families living in an ex-Confederate state. By considering four regiments from a single state, Reid presents a cross
section of a wide range of experiences and assesses what experiences proved largely universal among black troops. The full
freedom they fought for and dreamed of having when the war ended did not materialize in their lifetimes, but Reid shows that
many of them found in the army a kind of equality that was denied them in civilian life. The postwar benefits afforded to
white veterans seldom crossed the color line. The accolades African American soldiers received, Reid demonstrates, came not
from a new southern society, but from within their own communities, where black soldiers were seen and recognized as heroes.
"Great read regarding the African American Civil War experience..."
Reading: Uncle Tom's Cabin (Wordsworth Classics), by Harriet
Beecher Stowe (Author). Description: Edited and with
an Introduction and Notes by Dr Keith Carabine, University of Kent
at Canterbury. Uncle Tom's Cabin is the most popular, influential
and controversial book written by an American. Stowe's rich, panoramic novel passionately dramatizes why the whole of America is implicated in and responsible for the
sin of slavery, and resoundingly concludes that only 'repentance, justice and mercy' will prevent the onset of 'the wrath
of Almighty God!'. "[S]hould be required reading for all Americans...[G]old standard for studying Black American History."