Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans

Academic journal article The Arkansas Historical Quarterly

After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans

Article excerpt

After the Glory: The Struggles of Black Civil War Veterans. By Donald R. Shaffer. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2004. Pp. ix, 281. Acknowledgments, abbreviations, introduction, prologue, epilogue, statistical appendix, notes, bibliography, index. $34.95.)

Some 140 years after the Civil War ended, that chapter of American history continues to be popular. Within that history, African Americans played significant roles as nearly 200,000 Negroes served in the Union army and navy, suffering a 25 percent casualty rate. Twenty-two won Congressional Medals of Honor. Donald R. Shaffer, who teaches at the University of Northern Colorado, has written After the Glory to document the struggles of these black soldiers after the war for recognition of their manhood and equal rights.

African-American veterans sought the same benefits-membership in the Grand Army of the Republic and government pensions-given to white Union veterans, as well as respect and full citizenship. During the war, Negroes had suffered racial retaliation, as shown in Gregory J. W. Urwin's Black Flag over Dixie: Racial Atrocities and Reprisals in the Civil War (2003). This mistreatment continued after the war. Post-emancipation Negroes suffered domestic terrorism and racial discrimination. Most white Americans treated them paternalistically, as immature individuals rather than real men and women. Understandably, Negro veterans often took the lead in confronting racism and discrimination in their communities. …

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