Skip to main content

tv   Black Families in Civil War Philadelphia  CSPAN  July 18, 2021 5:17pm-6:36pm EDT

5:17 pm
♪♪ >> not now. just let me hold on to you. >> we haven't seen anything yet darling. all of this is just a part of the real world.
5:18 pm
>> i'm really glad to have you with us at today's lecture. i am here in the history department at virginia tech where i teach history and i also run the virginia civil war studies sponsoring tonight's lecture. many of you will know regular attendees, we host these kinds of events throughout the academic year. we had a really good run this year despite the pandemic and offering a great series of lectures.
5:19 pm
are other activities include organizing academic conferences. we give out grants and scholarships to researchers to come and visit and special collections at virginia tech. we also do outreach projects, local museums local elementary schools and that type of thing i encourage you to check out our website. and you can also find us on facebook and twitter and youtube this is the last event of the academic year the last in a series of lectures we have been hosting this year called the new perspective on the civil war era speaker series. it has been a wonderful series i have enjoyed hearing these emerging voices in civil war history looking at the future
5:20 pm
of the field will be the next years and decades. the series is organized by me in conjunction with our postdoctoral fellow who is with us this evening and you will hear from her later in the q&a session we will moderate the questions and give them to our speaker so for the last academic year we cannot be active during the summer months but even though you see any new lectures for a few months you can always check out the previous ones from this year on the youtube channel or several of them are already available on the c-span website as well. so for tonight speaker, assistant professor of history at augustine a university in the fall he will take up a new position in south carolina so congratulations on the new job and best of luck. while at augustine one of the
5:21 pm
big projects he has worked on is race and social justice to creating the scholarship for those studying black history and the author of several articles in right now in the final stages of finishing up a book which will be published by the university of georgia press next year it's called the families were the same title as tonight lecture will get a sneak preview tonight and he will speak for about 35 minutes so we have plenty of time for questions you can ask to the q&a box on zoom so any time if yorty have a question you can start now through the lecture type your questions into the q&a box we will keep an eye on the questions i'm
5:22 pm
looking forward to seeing the questions that you ask and we've had excellent discussions there are are lectures this year. we will wrap things up by about 815 eastern time. thank you again for joining us things to a very warm welcome to the virginia center civil war studies now over to you. >> . >> first of all thank you to virginia tech university for civil war studies for providing me with the opportunity to speak about my
5:23 pm
research of the first book which will be at the university of georgia press next year in the uncivil war series. i will also note as a proud virginian it's always nice to talk with people from my home state. it's wonderful to be there in the post pandemic world hopefully that is possible. sarah number of things that i could talk about.
5:24 pm
>> so the title is the family civil war northern african-american and soldiers and the fight for racial justice coming up at the university of georgia press. it is well known thanks to a growing body of scholarship that the campaign for northern african-american men such as philadelphia pennsylvania frederick douglass to emphasize the suppose it responsibilities that african-american men had to emancipate. and that rhetoric that rhetoric claims to allow them to have full citizenship including voting rights war
5:25 pm
propaganda argues the racial discrimination that all united states that soldiers would experience some form of discrimination. even so potentially the recruits were told to focus ending slavery while simultaneously proving that african-american man had for the white counterparts such as suffrage rights and the protection of refuting negative racial stereotypes all through military service. unfortunately for many northern african-american families with a dire situation that they experience in american society the removal of able-bodied african-american man had an ongoing economic crisis for
5:26 pm
the philadelphia families who were already suffering due to racial discrimination that impacted their lives on a daily basis. in some cases their financial wealth continued generations after the civil war ended. military service cannot exist in isolated segments although different from the soldiers on the frontlines they also dealt with the consequences of military participation that very few had anticipated and then to demonstrate that possibility could only occur if african-american man sacrifice their lives of free african-americans that they were and have died to achieve
5:27 pm
it. how to impact the families with the social economic standing for those enlisted men or their families. now an ideal location those who navigated the city with extreme partisan and racial politics with large-scale waistlines were commonplace throughout the 19th century. still it has the most significant african-american population which was 4 percent of the city's population at that time. and with those abolitionist networks with the nationally recognized activist which makes it an ideal location to investigate.
5:28 pm
pennsylvania word raise regiments the sixth was all trained in philadelphia where the recruiting took the take place in essence civil war military service was inescapable for african-american in philadelphia by 1863 is a militarization of the city to support the war effort in a multitude of ways. however many people advocating for african-american men to enlist in the u.s. army seem to ignore or downplay the harsh reality of life that all local african-americans had in every facet of society on a daily basis as they battled for survival literally and economically. in total 185 made in philadelphia and then were
5:29 pm
from the regiments and to be clear not even comprised 1 percent of the total african-american population usually capped at 1000 and enlisted men those that i investigate have 6 percent of the population regardless every one of their lives matter but they were never just cannon fodder or emancipator's they were fathers, brothers, sons, cousind friends to a marginalized segment of philadelphians residing in households including young children contributing to the family's finances to stave off poverty if only temporarily. now from 1851 through the thirties nearly 1000 individuals in
5:30 pm
multigenerational families that i study dealt with the long-term financial ramifications of civil war military service. primarily do to occupation and discrimination and racially discriminatory practices throughout the civil war pension application process collectively jeopardizing many working for african-american philadelphia families. these effects were felt far beyond any degree the federal government or the soldiers could comprehend once the call to arms had occurred. i would like to talk some about the research questions my book is into. ultimately guided by three essential inquiries. the first is how the
5:31 pm
enlistment of nativeborn african-american philadelphia men into the u.s. army immediately created and during financial hardships that impacted the multigenerational families who are left behind. second how did the society of federal government agents and various members of society contribute to the working poor veterans and their families in the late 19th and early 20th century? finally were the soldiers the other service? one thing that is important to do is conceptualize my study of those who come before me. focusing on isolated moments of soldiers experiences to illustrate the hardships that they and their blood related can experienced to eliminate
5:32 pm
the military experience to african-american men joseph details how white officers had physical punishment on soldiers who because of their racial inferiority were thought to have had cruel punishments. margaret humphries says due to the policies based on zero racial science the soldiers primarily perform duty and harsh climates that led to more deaths from illness and disease than confederate weaponry. scholar stress that they discriminated against and routinely denied african-americans civil war pension applicants primarily on the condition that they lied. james is the only scholar to put northern soldiers families at the center of the monograph
5:33 pm
study so he focuses on the investigation of african-american women being mothers and sisters and sons if you haven't read it i strongly encourage you to having said that it seeks not only provide the holistic analysis and their families but also recognizes the civil war was part of the lifelong racial conflict provided by 1863 african-american philadelphians with the ability to expand the theater for to the south with the confederates and and slavery as armed combatants however the war at home wage by white northerners never ended. serving the regiments was not the first time philadelphia soldiers engaged in battle. every day of their lives along
5:34 pm
with other african-americans was a struggle for the battle lines to be continuously redrawn. african-americans mobilized communities and children how to navigate and survive in a violent city to create spaces to protect each other from the onslaught of oppression to be understood they were never treated safe. with the loss of the scholarship one might forget not until the 19 fifties with modern scholars recognize that historical significance of the usdc soldiers publishing studies that had overviews of the events and in 1955 following with an examination of the process of immediate postwar issues through the reconstruction era including discussing their african-american men
5:35 pm
collectively the sought to eliminate a forgotten past the history of the negro soldier and union army has remained an obscure chapter in american history. so with those academics and scholars this was correct assuming african-americans knew otherwise. white scholarly of the soldiers actively join the fact that many african-american scholars published two years after the civil war ended and continue to produce scholarship through the early 20th century. one african-american civilian compose the monograph of the rebellion in 1867 after noticing that white historians either downplayed or ignored the historical significance of the regiments "i have waited
5:36 pm
patiently before beginning this work with the hope that someone more competent will take up the subject at hand but it has not been done although many books have been written upon the rebellion. there's also the literature of william j simmons joseph t wilson and isaac j harold who all investigated soldiers more time sacrifices. the veterans made a mission to inform civilians including harder g woodson about the exploits. additionally susie taylor published her experiences as a laundress and a nurse for the 3d and also headed the postwar struggles her family experienced african-americans and their families have fought for decades to put in the
5:37 pm
historical memory of the civil war but this did not materialize until the modern civil rights movement. now a member of historians previously mentioned serve the regiments they all became historians to confront whites and non- academics and some african-americans didn't have the significance of the soldiers simmons for example lamented the fact his students most likely at simmons college in kentucky knew little about soldiering for them then i've noticed in my experience as a teacher that some of my students are ignorant of the work of our great colored men even ignorant of their names.
5:38 pm
ultimately the families build upon the efforts that began before 130 years ago to uncover the personal history of soldiers and their extended families in a manner that would bring their names and experiences to the forefront. at least simmons and his dedication he used to honor the prominent role that african-american women when he wrote it is respectfully dedicated to the women of our race and especially to the devoted self-sacrificing mothers who mobilized of the subjects laboring and praying for their success". simmons understood the invaluable contributions african-american families, especially women made in the lives of the usdc soldiers but rather them into that discussion of the book like the dedication the soldiers families must be at
5:39 pm
the center of the historical analysis doing so reveals how northern african-american families continuously fought against barriers that whites even though they fought along side with imposed upon them the civil war was neither just a conflict between two armies or solely about regions or races it was a war that provided african-americans with the ability to demand equality in american society and doing so had the capacity to create lasting columns for their families in unfortunate ways to be clear it's more than a civil war history also contribute to the scholarship of northern african-americans in urban cities. the philadelphia born veterans and their kin over multiple generations allow for new avenues of scholarly analysis
5:40 pm
moreover this approach will allow leaders to recognize how these important but understudied historical figures persevered against racism in philadelphia. it is time to acknowledge the lives of the soldiers and their families did not stop and start with one specific historical moment rather they expected ask tended over a period of time transcending over our conventional periods of inquiry. african-american philadelphia families establishing and maintaining the entire household was difficult and nearly impossible the marginal economic situations forced wives and children in many families to work for money sometimes these african-american families extended by ken by blood in each disciplinary term that i use which possibly
5:41 pm
misrepresents those relations to a market economy definition that ignores the possible emotional connection these individuals may have had for each other. for example a future soldier resided with 90 six-year-old sarah black while john w jackson of the same regiment with 80 -year-old diana maxfield in 1860. the senior women were unable to work full-time but it might have occurred for these families to provide shelter or emotional or medical support. african-american families also to the familial structure to raise children even the documented sources never declared the fact that african-americans opened their homes to nonregulated individuals regularly it shows
5:42 pm
that african-american families were genuinely concerned of assisting others to fight racial discrimination increased ability hopefully in the lives of their kin. rather than framing african-american families to establish the quid pro quo relationship but in terms of the methodology for this book, to conduct a random sample philadelphia born men which has previously stated is 185 soldiers by including their families including their kin nearly 1000 people am not claiming this specific group of people is represented for the african-american experience. i want to be clear on that but this group of individuals had a unique relationship with the federal government and the united states army potentially
5:43 pm
given access to federally sponsored social welfare and a way to have their lives and hardships documented in governmental ways. ultimately the soldiers are only at the beginning to truly understand the complexity of northern african-american families over the period time that i studied. 's address those fundamental questions a comprehensive collection of primary sources listed here pension records military service records soldiers published memoirs federal census speeches by prominent individuals and newspapers particularly though weekly angle african and how the philadelphia connected to the pesky pillion church i'm happy to talk about those sources particularly newspapers they are a gold mine to get more people
5:44 pm
understanding of the black soldiers themselves. now i would like to turn to one of the many examples of the soldiers and their families seeking understood how it impacted their families long-term. in 1842, the son of sarah and an unnamed man born in philadelphia. sarah, for undisclosed reasons became a single mother raising four children including andrew by herself until she married james reed on an undisclosed date. in total the couple would raise seven children which created significant economic burden on the family as james was the only full-time wage earner working as a laborer due to racial discrimination , not only in philadelphia but nationwide for african-american men to hope to support their family
5:45 pm
perhaps to bolster the family economy in between raising the kids in their home none of the school-age children attended school at school-age the absences from school were not unique has many other working poor families chose not to send their children to racially segregated schools to be inferior in every way to the white counterparts such as having unqualified teachers continuously dealing with funding problems not even having a roof or dilapidated buildings that were horrendous. other families needed children to forgo formal education sometimes as young as five years old to find wage earning employment even if only temporarily to supplement the household income it is entirely possible that children have these experience
5:46 pm
which illustrated that race to find the social hierarchy that ignored an individual's age. for andrew reaching adulthood forced him to assume responsibilities after his stepfather could no longer perform his duties as a laborer after experiencing a ruptured hernia and then to find work as a farm laborer collecting eight dollars a month the majority of the wages went to help parents and siblings survived as he was the sole full-time wage earner for the entire family. his familial obligations were well-known among the community for childhood friends of his testify that andrew was critical as a provider for his entire family particularly after his father's afflictions materialized as a bachelor. he was the bread winner even
5:47 pm
though his stepfather resided in the household. perhaps this gave andrew a conflicted understanding of ideology that middle class americans championed alternatively what matters more to andrew was keeping the family economically stable through his labor that material realities for this work were starkly different from the victorian era gender roles. eventually andrew answered the call to arms listing august 121963 and 1 - - 1863 and went for training. records do not reveal what andrew's motivations were for serving in the military, however the fight the immediate problem for his family as he did not receive a
5:48 pm
100-dollar enlistment value as payment would occur after so now they were without their breadwinner and their finances became extremely chaotic as patriot and manhood trumped familial responsibilities serving in the army did not stop him from seeking to maintain a close relationship with the family back home marchh , he wrote sarah and informed her while camp at yorktown virginia and in the letter he explained his adoration for his family on the home front that he missed dearly then complained about his financial woes which made it harder for him to communicate with his family. dear mother i hope you don't think part of me for not writing you any sooner i cannot get paper to write you sooner because paper is very hard to come by without any money".
5:49 pm
perhaps the complaint of the inability to afford paper was the inefficiency of paymasters who rarely paid out soldiers in a timely fashion and then he wanted to remain updated in his absence maybe it was his ways of recognizing how military service jeopardize the finances. for men like andrew a defining component of military service without he was in complete "i have not been in a fight yet but i have been into very hard for the fight but the rubble was afraid to stand up. his regimented manhood was on full display while confederate soldiers in his opinion were born of masculine patriotic honor maybe they took pride in his confidence but also that there breadwinner pined to sacrifice his life.
5:50 pm
now for full disclosure this is a depiction of another battle that the image still holds true. unfortunately andrews wish came true as he received an injury june 30th 1864 at the battle in virginia he later died from his injuries. sarah promptly replied from others pension to hope for some kind of compensation for her son's death she qualified because he died at bachelor otherwise she would've been ineligible sarah did ask her mother's application the pension was approved and she collected his 100-dollar list bonus and began receiving up pension of eight dollars per month that she would continue earning for the remainder of her life.
5:51 pm
in 1886 the pension increased at $12 per month and then it rose $33 per month it's argued there only meant to supplement an individual's income that members of the community stated throughout the late 19th century sarah frequently depended on the kindness of strangers to survive. she is the widow of over 80 years of age and quite decrepit she had been supported by charitable people of her neighborhood "additionally service-oriented to selling candy and cakes to bolster finances whenever possible. and as the only documented individual in her household receiving money it is feasible it was never enough to provide fiscal stability for the entire family. the government tensioner did not stop representatives for investigating into the private life of sarah shortly after
5:52 pm
james died pension agents began the invasive examination of his employment and disability history to determine if she should keep her pension or if she had been defrauded the federal government all along they testified he was disabilities not a dereliction of his responsibilities and kept him from working multiple childhood friends of andrew confirmed he was the sole full-time wage earner for the family which confirmed sarah's financial dependency on her son. after the inquiry of the federal government the pension was continued only after questioning her validity and documenting her hardships to appease the skepticism of the pension agents. in the end andrew continued to help his family financially even after death. but it is possible the family would rather have him return safely instead of receiving financial compensation.
5:53 pm
enclosing the civil war is framed as a national conflict to end slavery his stories of uncovered how political figures through civilian organizations in the way people experience aware however my research pushes that with new methodologies to demonstrate is possible to drive analysis to focus on under analyzed african-americans who deal with the long-term ramifications and the impact on 4 billion between 70 and 80 years after the war ended. scholars have documented the aspects of four-time experiences to illustrate the significant role that african-american men but recent scholarship provides more depth on the hardship and what they dealt with only briefly highlighting how
5:54 pm
families were the victims on the can and ultimately in my research seeks to demonstrate we should not only focus these but the hundreds of thousands of others impacted by the war. to eliminate the lives of many individuals who struggles matter that remain silenced for those that the center of historical damnation. thank you. >> wonderful. thank you so much that was wonderful i look forward to having everybody's questions as they come in as a reminder you can ask questions we will keep an eye out for those may have one question whether there ways evidence of black men pressured not to enlist if they had a desire for what you see emerging from these records that you look at from
5:55 pm
friends and family and community members? were there pressure not to leave home because they were the primary breadwinners? >> that's a great question and should be asked a lot more about the quick answer is the contention of northern african-americans so the ones i mentioned the first two years having publishing constant editorials even if a call comes black men don't go to get full citizenship and otherwise don't do it i don't know a lot of people didn't mention that frederick douglass went to a number of black churches during these informal recruitment campaigns and at one point they basically say who will stand up with me and enlist? nobody does actually a white member says it was just like
5:56 pm
that vocal criticism also some family members their unfortunate stories of teenage boys that are desperate to prove their manhood and gentlemen leave brown he runs away from home at 13 and signs at the solomon wilson dies 70 miles away from his family and it's really heart-wrenching because the family is reflecting on the pension we told him not to go. he's going to die and he did. and that is important and also like to follow up with the pressure is important to recognize the prominence of black women and their
5:57 pm
significance in the civil war and i say that because william d kelly for example the congressman from kent pennsylvania during the recruitment campaign will say to black women in mothers and girlfriends they are the most important recruiters to the war effort. so even politicians understood even soldiers understood they were pressured either to or not from african-american women and i think that deserves a lot more credit than it has gotten. >> we have a question from a viewer who has some expertise in the records from white lack energy ar post they are themselves researching the 102nd ustc they found the nga our records especially useful to piece together the lives of veterans do use them much
5:58 pm
yourself? >> i have not only because the pension records did not highlight the energy ar is much as i anticipated one of the soldiers out right said we went to aga our meeting and it was a complete waste of time. was a everything he said but part of that is that disclosure what the pension records do and do not reveal. maybe not until the 18 nineties pushing through to get federal legislation to expand the process having saying that look at my next book with those pennsylvania families can get into that more looking at camp william penn and looking at black empowerment. >> to continue on that theme
5:59 pm
and the limitations we have a question on the ethical of using the materials and forced exposure of personal details that come out in these files so what are your thoughts for the effects of dealing with these very intimate lives when you write about them? >> when i was getting the records i would call my mom i would transcribe it some of them horrified me they still do. i know particularly for african-american women i know way too much about their intimate relationships with veterans or men that they engage or even the rumor of an engagement with another man in terms of getting a pension so unfortunately for example she
6:00 pm
married a veteran and he dies the when she applied for the pension attention agent in the committee make her tell them about the first time she met this gentleman and how it led to their child unfortunately i know way too much about that moment there's also there a very invasive nature to the records of the african americans have to prove themselves in order to get the pension and that's a great point i have tried to be very respectful of what i do and don't use in the book because some things is not my business to begin with i would only highlight a few just to show the problems with the pension records. having said that in my book i'm also trying to give agents and others are doing that as well one of the scholars is
6:01 pm
pushing this to give agency to african-americans to the pension process and what i mean by that she means that pension networks trying to navigate the system and i say even in the circumstances where people are disclosing many aspects of their lives it's really not our business of the continuance and persistence to be recognized and have those sacrifices documented is amazing in making this one point making pension records even as a rejection to refute the lost cause narrative because the federal government is listening to the stories. totally ruined the end of my book but it ends with a daughter writing to eleanor roosevelt as the first lady. and mother has cancer she says
6:02 pm
a poor black woman from philadelphia you have done so much for our people can you help us? and she responded in seven days. i cannot get my colleagues windsor two weeks in an e-mail. and she basically sends this. and then they developed a friendship and i saw agency in the and she's having a conversation with the first lady even went leads to rejection we know her story we know the tragic aspect but also that she force people to hear her that she is a living monument to the war so it betrays that delicate balance of how to navigate the records. . . . .
6:03 pm
and like as i started this project is like these people became friends and i had invested 10 years of my life in them trying to tell their story. and when i wrote it, i wrote it in such a fashion that hopefully post covid i can go to the local communities of philadelphia or the surrounding areas do a presentation and maybe they do agree or don't agree but at least we can agree that the argument of your family matters
6:04 pm
and when people talk about the civil war they will recognize your struggles. i need to be honest i will be very emotional so that's my hope with this. i will send my second book i'm trying to do probably on philadelphia because it's so rich in its history but the second project we need to talk and recognizing border towns, counties and communities rural areas and how they experience the war because in many cases those of the people that made up the majority at least in some of the residents i'm looking out for the new projects while not empower them as well and say we talk about filling in harrisburg or even for the bigger cities and we need to talk about what's happening in these counties because they are the ones who have the very difficult journey
6:05 pm
to get to the camp to enlist if they even get in so they are in a battle just to enlist. >> we have someone who's trying to research their great-grandfather in north carolina and is turning into some issues with trying to find a pension so maybe we came get you all in touch later. >> the one thing i try to do as a person at navigating i'm writing a piece right now. it can be superdrive that what i've actually found this a lot more about their living situation and that's why i started to see who these people were and the one thing i discover it is some of the soldiers were firemen. one guy was a minor and an engineer. they actually made money becoming a soldier. some were carpenters and in the
6:06 pm
city that has one of the worst cases of racial violence in the nation. it's a goldmine when you contextualize it. it doesn't always tell the whole story but they hear from the people themselves. >> a couple of quick questions. i'm going to bundle them together in one as you mentioned one of the newspapers and there was another one you mentioned and can you remind us of the title of that and we have a question that the quick one if he would recommend another and of course you've recommended one and we all recommend your book but are there any other city would recommend? >> i want to be clear i don't get any royalties for mentioning my work.
6:07 pm
the weekly anglo african in new york state there are some newspapers that submit that would have is very vocal and one of the first publications that made it clear -- the anglo africans at the end of the war have this very clear statement saying black veterans need jobs. we have opened every door of employment for them so they are advocating on that case and i would assume the library including the public library you should be able to get it on that. the christian quarterly is the african-american disco paly in church. there's a way to get those. the thing that's amazing about those records they are
6:08 pm
editorials i have a new essay which gets into that and we need to realize that a number of northern refugee soldiers leave for jaws particular after leave has surrendered. and i want to occupy forces in the south. they are under the suspicion of this mexican. there's a lot of conversation. after seven of diamonds we have no money. i have families that are starving. i'm done. the newspapers are amazing. the second question about other books, so many.
6:09 pm
amy morell taylor's embattled freedom is amazing and that has really helped me to situate conversations with the family. hillary green, everything she writes to be honest, you can't go wrong with her and also david silken net and to understand issues with suicide because there are cases of self-harm en bloc for troops and i'm trying to connect that to what's happening for free people and also confederates so there's a lot more of that. in defense of humans is a great hook. let's see, freedoms women, that the classic. that to go to for me. i'd also add troubled refuge and
6:10 pm
i say that because she helps me to understand and others to understand cultural citizenship. the brief flare would explain it is i used to think it's citizenship is a freedom movement where she's talking about it and others and sorry if i've missed pronounced her name but the desire to belong to the nation. cultural citizenship provides a way to include women, children and not just men that women are also demonstrating cultural citizenship. i don't know if you can see some of the books behind me but any of these are going to be great. i love reading. i can follow-up follow up on that question or get more suggestions. >> with that i have some questions, further questions about the women who are involved in all of these processes.
6:11 pm
>> it let's go there. >> one thing i was asked is are there any instances of wives, of mothers who volunteer as nurses who are barred for participating because of their race and if they were not and they were able to be present to that effect the holm unit back home? if both parents in fact are present in the camp is that going to affect --. >> the historian answers all these yeah but no. [laughter] i will say this and i will try to do this in this book and i will churro at home more. when you think a particular you know military regiments the families are there. they are there and in the northern case not even -- my dissertation look death new york
6:12 pm
residents in black women in new york were the ones that went there help to give the soldiers adequate housing adequate food and medical care because they said the union wasn't doing enough and the federal government has left these soldiers. how to expect them to train properly so black women were there in new york and they are also there in pennsylvania and philadelphia. some of them if they can become nurses the mothers especially what i had seen them do as they will take up occupation super close to the care so they can have close proximity so there is some of that dynamic. other black women will just go constantly. there is one family that really i traced them throughout the book and it's the davises. it's totally spoiling my book. it opens up in 1884. she's giving testimony because there are questions about his or
6:13 pm
some legitimate and she says in 1884 to the pension age and the united states army stole everything from my family. we have nothing. and that was such a powerful statement. that reframed everything for me but during the war when her husband benjamin tried to enlist in the 54th he got a staph infection and missed the birth of their only son so then the sixth mobilization benjamin enlist and mary is her name and she takes their newborn child and makes benjamin swear that this is their child at camp multiple times and even in the testimony of other soldiers they are like yeah i remember that. and then there were rumors that she was not a good mother so she gave up guardianship to jerome's
6:14 pm
grandparents. i argue it's because she was so defiant in making sure that their child was recognized as being legitimate and that's the reason the sun gets attention so the agency that they are continuously showing even when commanding officers like louis wagner referring to some black women as prostitutes or workers and the same categorization is not given to the wives of officers. so is -- there's a racialization i would also say black civilians get married. that's amazing to i've talked about marrying under the flag and officer that's happening in some cases in the south but it's happening there and it's recorded in the black newspapers which to me is really fascinating. again military spaces are ways for families to reconnect but in
6:15 pm
many cases they are everything for the black community is the black families trying to become part of the national family. >> i'm really interested in the camp and whereabouts was that an is there anything to see if you go there today? >> jonathan w. blythe, he would know a lot more than me. he is a very experienced scholar in philadelphia. i looked and there's like one marker in the front gates i believe and from what i remember from market -- margaret eagan spoke it was lucretia motz's family's plot that she donated to the united states military which is awesome because she would actually from time to time visit the space and bring them baked goods and just check in on the soldiers so again women of many races are visible at ella terry camps for different reasons. it's my hope that can puyi
6:16 pm
antennas put into this important conversation because 11 regiments in total will train their so it's very visible in pennsylvania life. the one thing i didn't do for the first book is also talking about military processions in the camp that also outside. there needs to be a little bit more conversation about that. those were spaces in which the black community appreciates -- particularly black women. there they are and they are cheering and they are saying you as a society need to recognize what we did for particularly white women. we are neighbors, we are women and we need to be respected for what we have always done for our communities and families and what we are showing again repeatedly in this country so there's so much depth so that
6:17 pm
can be done in pennsylvania but particularly philadelphia. >> i've got a couple of questions squished together if that's her right. one question is whether there were other ways for these men to define their manhood outside of the war? was that possible of what were some of the avenues in which they were able to do that and another viewer mentions and wants to know if you are familiar with martin reid white of philadelphia the u.s. ep officer and thrown off of the officer's car in a train in pennsylvania because he was black and he sued the real red claiming entitlement. he spoke to the pennsylvania supreme court and lost. they allow the union to segregate and disallow lack officers the same privileges allowed other officers. >> yes without question with
6:18 pm
phillip foner engine key spurt has talked about this the movie theaters if you will and a few others have highlighted this well in streetcars in rail cars. public transit at the time and they also brought their own battles and it's really important to recognize as many others do that these private close spaces which sometimes can be intimate and force it up and put people of color into situations because not only philadelphia and new york city but even in boston will the first to racially segregated streetcar, a jim crow car. it was basically the privilege if you will too to violently removed or assaults african-americans are black people in general for not sitting in their appropriate spaces. i've read stories of women who are pregnant being thrown from the streetcars, elderly people
6:19 pm
who froze to death on the expose what they call nick rowe car which is a platform. the stories are and there were definitely cases of black soldiers and even white officers who were allies using, wearing the uniforms acid and basically as civil rights demonstrations connected to their uniform to challenge racial discrimination and that's important. others of already talked about that and i love that that's where the conversation is going and using that term. there's a modern civil rights movement and silver rights activism. so the question about the manhood question. african-american manhood in african-american womanhood is defined everyday day in their homes and their communities. in our view they don't need military service to define black manhood or womanhood that they will use it and they will do so
6:20 pm
visibly violently in some cases but i guess i have some disagreement with frederick douglass saying this is how you prove you are a man in this battle and to me that battle every second these people fought before that moment and after. by saying that rhetoric you are ignoring the fact that those men saw themselves in a way to keep their families together the critical role that every person played in that family to keep it afloat. sometimes successful and sometimes not for the war provides a new avenue but it also complicates manhood. there's a recent look that talked about black men became men in their deaths in the solo war and i'm what does it mean? its families of soldiers and veterans that will say that same thing. this means nothing to some of them say i want my family back.
6:21 pm
so talking about monuments and all that and militarize manhood it's really complicated. also to that point of the notion of manhood that gets really messy when we add in the prominent role that african-american soldiers and many veterans to become buffalo soldiers will play in the unfortunate violence against the native american populations and that's a conversation when we talk to about students they are always like what? as the federal government into white society to be a citizen meant that you have to do violence to another group of racial minorities. we are still suffering from that. >> one of the great things i think about your project and your forthcoming book is the way you look at that shadows and legacies of civil war and military service.
6:22 pm
over one period of time. one is wondered whether future generations signed up for military service and may be inspired by civil war generation and then i would even kind of robin that out beyond individual families and think about how memories of civil war and military service affected the debate during world war i and world war ii when african-americans face some of the same kinds of decisions and were being asked to go and fight and is this going to mean equality or true citizenship and can it send positive signals but is it really going to happen? people were thinking about the civil war president when they made these decisions? >> the one case i've seen at least for this project, the problem is there are so many names in my head and i'm trying to remember them off the top of my head.
6:23 pm
france's austin. i believe it was him. he had a son or a relative who did serve as a soldier later and there was pride that it was mentioned in the pension record because it wasn't contained to the case at all but it was still worth noting. it is very possible that some future generations even if it's not their children may be a distant relative that would have served so there is that in that question and one thing i'm trying to situate my work in is obviously this is a military history. this is politics of memory and this is so many ways a long-standing fight for an american society. and through the pensions through the constant persistence of these families do not a forgotten. that is the most powerful thing
6:24 pm
because it's easy to look at this project as a doom and gloom and it is and it's absolutely heartwrenching. some of the stories are just painful and what they mean by that is some deal with ptsd and their number of soldiers who have domestic violence issues that comes out and in the post-war he will try to burn his children's ears off on the stove and his neighbors will note that it wasn't uncommon to hear violent screams usually as he tried to kill his wife so literally there was a neighborhood watch to stop him from attempting to choke his wife to death and it's absolutely radiance up dying in a -- in that story is tragic. they would die in an attic tickets they would put african-americans and white immigrants into these conditions and the hospital records, it
6:25 pm
says it is not uncommon for there to be a murder amongst the patience. if not, the staff is surprised and i think of that and this context is civil war memory in people talking about honoring the legacy. nobody cares that he is eating rats in the attic. nobody cares what his family experienced when he is violently assaulted. like their stories matter but he is a living monument to his family families living monument in their memories matter. so it's like i'm trying to complicates the conversation particular by adding and what does this mean for the family and i say this because i'm the child of. my mother suffered 25 years was deployed international and i struggle to understand her service as a child. this project for me helps me to appreciate more deeply what my
6:26 pm
mother served in many people like her because i hope that this story goes down just african-americans. it's about what it means for families and when someone says thank you for your service they understand that it's not just a statement for the soldier but it's a conversation for that family who lived in fear constantly waiting for them to come home dealing with various forms of issues whether it's a mental ms unemployment depression and it's not just the veteran, is their community. and they are like that's my hope with this project that this pushes a conversation about what is all this memory and monuments if you will of people because it's the people that matter not the war. that's controversial to say that but i said it. >> that's it's a wonderful statement and diet area. i think that totally rings true and based on that there are many
6:27 pm
many stories you have to look through all of the research that you have conducted. are there any particular people or stories that have really stuck with you that just really inspired you when doing this research that you want to bring forth as much as possible? >> for me and i will say this the one thing that is a mom and all but the pension records and i think back to when i was a graduate student. people would say we can't find african-american sources, where they? my advice was here they are. they are in the pensions and they are there in detail and black women's voices are very, very visible. one of them kate ellsberg i believe she will write the pension bureau like over seven months repeatedly like my father died and i paid for all of it. i want to be compensated. i want my money and she will not be forgotten and guess what? the pension bureau pays her. it was her case was without
6:28 pm
persistence was amazing in that she is saying you won't forget what we gave so you are going to give us not just money but you are going to remember this. there's also fascinating anecdotes like one of the soldiers becomes, he's a barter. his france's faucet and he will travel the country makes his way to arkansas canada california and he wears his uniform and is known as the veteran barber. he uses his soldier experience as ways to get a business and i think that's really awesome and there are people that talk about him across the country like he always talks about his service. he won't let people forget which is to be really cool. there is also unfortunate stories of a whodunit that i stumbled into doing a project. one of the veterans is a -- we
6:29 pm
learned he won't be shipping out to the atlantic ocean and the ship comes back and he doesn't return. it leads to this years long investigation which the pension bureau is trying to figure out what happened to him and the captain doesn't help the situation because he said i didn't didn't like him anyway so good luck finding him. and it's just this really fascinating story which doesn't give closure they don't find them but it's just like you get the letters that he's writing home about i'm not being paid, my captain is, i should just quit or this is the last time i'm doing this track could i love you, i miss you so it's their stories and even heartwrenching ones are amazing to me because i'm beginning to understand who they were. to me that's the most important. they are people. they have joy successes fears and aspirations that matter. yes without question 14, 15 amendments all these bills matter and all these moments
6:30 pm
matter and what does it mean on the ground level and not always looking at the major figures. they are always going to be there but what does it mean for those who served and gave everything. i don't want to say they got nothing because they got a lot and what they got was that they were remembered through their pension records and hopefully through this project and many others and hopefully we will do the work it does the pension records are phenomenal sources. soon if this is fascinating stuff and i'm going to be kind of selfish here and asked the last question myself. we have had some wonderful questions from the audience that we really appreciate. i've been wondering about the movie, glory because i'm teaching a course on and the civil war and the sound of the so we have talked about lori. i assume you have seen it and if so what do you think of its
6:31 pm
representation of the subject and what's missing and what does it do well? >> first of all i've seen glory way too many times. i can memorize it word for word. i loved lori. i will cry. or three scenes that dress parade and a skid steer point when they are marching through boston massachusetts and uniformity see the crowd and not just people of prominence that the local community is cheering them on. that is on point and i think we need to have more conversations about military procession to what it means for the community in particular. i think you get a lot of the black masculinity and there's a lot of rhetoric and their and what they experience going up against whites and particularly the sergeant and the racism he showed them in his training but even to the officers and the
6:32 pm
negative ways they are looking at african-americans in the campfires. that's the hardest to watch knowing that they are coming to grips with their mortality. sorry if you haven't seen the movie i'm totally spoiling it but that scene is like, we are going to die put the thing that i gravitate to add a couple of things. first of all i recently watched it and as i remember right at the beginning it uses the verbiage of the war between the states which i'm like wait a minute. that's definitely not what they want to call it. so there is that lingo which needs to be discussed more and also black women are not given enough permanence in their roles. i think i saw one scene where they were in the background but they aren't there any think about denzel. i thought of the families in a particular morgan freeman statement when he says i left
6:33 pm
mike kinfolk -- i always think of that line because i'm like what does this mean to their children and to their can in their community? ..
6:34 pm
era in you provide dozens of new perspectives in your talk alone especially that central idea that the civil war was not just over in four years or can find to what happened on the battlefield but it went beyond the battlefield and after 1865's and the men involved that you really get a sense of how broad the verifications were thank you to the civil war studies at 12 think mr. pacitti to thank
6:35 pm
them we would have made a great team this year with our speaker series and the moderation of the q&a to know that doctor u-haul delivered it and she is on the youtube channel and c-span as well. most of all thank you for a wonderful lecture


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on