The Black Experience in the Civil War South

The Black Experience in the Civil War South

The Black Experience in the Civil War South

The Black Experience in the Civil War South

Synopsis

The Black Experience in the Civil War South is the first comprehensive study of the Southern black wartime experience to appear in a generation. Incorporating the most recent scholarship, this thematically organized book does justice to the richness of its subject, looking at the lives of blacks in the Confederate states and the nonseceding Southern states; at blacks on farms and plantations and in towns and cities; at blacks employed in industry and the military; and at black men, women, and children.

Drawing on memoirs, autobiographies, and other original source materials, the author details the experiences of blacks who took up residence in Union "contraband camps" and on free-labor plantations and those who enlisted in the Union army. He introduces individuals who escaped from slavery, as well as the small minority of Southern blacks who were free when the war began. Most significantly, this revealing study deals not only with those who gained freedom during the war, but those whose freedom came only after the conflict's end.

Excerpt

“Like Ol’ Man River,” the distinguished Civil War historian Peter J. Parish wrote in 1998, “Civil War historiography just keeps rolling along. It changes course occasionally, leaving behind bayous of stagnant argument, while it carves out new lines of inquiry and debate.”

Since Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s men stacked their guns at Appomattox Court House in April 1865, historians and partisans have been fighting a war of words over the causes, battles, results, and broad meaning of the internecine conflict that cost more than 620,000 American lives. Writers have contributed between 50,000 and 60,000 books and pamphlets on the topic. Viewed in terms of defining American freedom and nationalism, western expansion and economic development, the Civil War quite literally launched modern America. “The Civil War,” Kentucky poet, novelist, and literary critic Robert Penn Warren explained, “is for the American imagination, the great single event of our history. Without too much wrenching, it may, in fact, be said to be American history.”

The books in Praeger’s Reflections on the Civil War Era series examine pivotal aspects of the American Civil War. Topics range from examinations of military campaigns and local conditions, to analyses of institutional, intellectual, and social history. Questions of class, gender, and race run through each volume in the series. Authors, veteran experts . . .

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