Defining Moments: African American Commemoration and Political Culture in the South, 1863-1913

By Kathleen Ann Clark | Go to book overview

chapter two
A Resurrection of Manhood
GENDERED RECONSTRUCTIONS

THE BLACK MAN HAS COME FORTH FROM HIS
DEGRADED ENTOMBMENT TO A RESURREC-
TION OF MANHOOD. …. [H] E HAS BEEN SUM-
MONED TO BREAK THE BONDS OF HIS
CHATTELHOOD AND VINDICATE HIS CLAIMS
TO THE COMMON RIGHT OF HUMANITY.
“Emancipation,” Christian Recorder,
15 August 1863

On 16 December 1865, an African American newspaper broadcast plans for an upcoming Emancipation Day celebration in Charleston, South Carolina. In a carefully worded advertisement appearing in the Charleston Leader, the all-male planning committee called on “[a]ll Male Societies, Companies, Clubs, or organized bodies” to send representatives to the local Union League hall to initiate plans for the celebration. The committee then made a separate appeal to “[a] 11 the Ladies'societies and Associations,” indicating that “anything they could provide would be happily received by the Committee.” The organizers continued their address to the women, specifying the tasks they might usefully undertake: “The Committee beg to inform the ladies generally that they would be extremely happy to have their assistance in making Wreaths, Banners, etc.” In a third and final appeal to the women, committee members drew a sharp distinc-

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