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Monday, March 26, 2007

First Woman to lead U.S. troops is a familiar surprise

"Yes, it was Harriet Tubman, who in June of 1863 guided three steam-powered Union gunboats as they churned 25 miles up the Combahee River in South Carolina during the Civil War. Tubman told the pilots of the boats how to avoid the mines Confederate forces had placed in the river.

"When Tubman and some 150 black soldiers of the Second South Carolina Regiment landed, they stole or destroyed thousands of dollars worth of crops and livestock, burned houses, barns and plantations and made off with 750 slaves who would no longer serve the Confederate war effort

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Speaking of serving the Confederate war effort, to me, it is very sad that there were Blacks who actually fought to preserve the status quo, to preserve the old order of bondage. I wonder if they shot at Harriet Tubman:

"As Edward Smith, Dean of Minority Affairs and Professor of History at American University, remarked in the August 1991 edition of The Civil War News, 'to admit that blacks actually fought for a cause which in the minds of many 20th century Americans now stands exclusively for slavery and oppression is unacceptable to many in the country concerned with only politics and not with the realities of historical record.'"

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"Black Confederates. Why haven't we heard more about them? National Park Service historian, Ed Bearrs, stated, 'I don't want to call it a conspiracy to ignore the role of Blacks both above and below the Mason-Dixon line, but it was definitely a tendency that began around 1910' Historian, Erwin L. Jordan, Jr., calls it a 'cover-up' which started back in 1865. He writes, 'during my research, I came across instances where Black men stated they were soldiers, but you can plainly see where "soldier" is crossed out and "body servant" inserted, or "teamster" on pension applications.' Another black historian, Roland Young, says he is not surprised that blacks fought. He explains that 'some, if not most, Black southerners would support their country' and that by doing so they were 'demonstrating it's possible to hate the system of slavery and love one's country.' This is the very same reaction that most African Americans showed during the American Revolution, where they fought for the colonies, even though the British offered them freedom if they fought for them."

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"The undersigned free men of color, residing in the city of Savannah and county of Chatham, fully impressed with the feeling of duty we owe to the State of Georgia as inhabitants thereof, which has for so long a period extended to ourselves and families its protection, and has been to us the source of many benefits-beg leave, respectfully, in this the hour of danger, to tender to yourself our services, to be employed in the defense of the state, at any place or point, at any time or any length of time, and in any service for which you may consider us best fitted, and in which we can contribute to the public good." (They fought to protect their "source of many benefits." There is nothing new under the sun.)

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Booker T. Washington said:

"There is another class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs -- partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs....There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who do not want the patient to get well, because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means of making a living, but also an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

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