A Letter From A Black Confederate
by Bob Harrison
1st Sergeant, 37th Texas Cavalry, Company B, CSA
Regarding: "I've Put Away Childish Things; The University of
Mississippi should Too"
SN Fair Use Statement
Regarding Mr. Mitchell's Recent Column...
While I fully respect his right as a US citizen and alumnus of
Ole Miss to have and voice his opinions, he thoroughly misses
the real point in this whole situation. Ole Miss Rebels represent
a legacy of truth and honor that spans many ethnicities who came
together for a common cause. The recent flag vote in MS clearly
shows where the people stand regarding the Battle Flag and CSA
heritage in general. The people, including many BLACK PEOPLE,
let it be known that the MS State flag and thusly the Battle Flag
was a flag of the people, WHITE AND BLACK, and they were not going
to tolerate outsiders trying to tell them what they can do or
should believe. Being that you are a college graduate I would
have hoped for more understanding and knowledge of history, especially
MS history, but apparently you do not possess such.
During the siege of Vicksburg many black southerners, of their
own FREE WILL defended Vicksburg against Union General US Grant.
Native Mississippians Andrew and Silas Chandler gallantly went
off to war to FIGHT for MS and the CSA against the invading US
Armies. Silas, a FORMER slave went to war with his childhood friend
Andrew Chandler and saved Andrew's leg from amputation. The descendants
of these two proud and honorable men are still close to this day.
One of Silas's living descendants, Bobbie Chandler lives in MS
and speaks very PROUDLY of his ancestor's accomplishments to this
day. Many black southerners all over the country openly show great
pride in their confederate heritage and justifiably so. Nelson
Winbush, a proud BLACK CONFEDERATE proudly speaks of his ancestor
Private Louis Nelson who rode with General Nathan Bedford Forrest,
whose name I am sure you recognize. There is Dr. Emory Emerson
of Dallas Texas who was unceremoniously dumped from the Civil
War memorial ceremony in DC a few years ago. These are NOT opinions,
but HISTORICAL FACTS coming from the ancestors of these great
Southern patriots themselves. Even Federal Record graciously speaks
of the accomplishments of Confederates of Color.
It was sad enough to see Ole Miss succumb to the anti-Southern
agenda of the "politically correct" crowd. However,
now you actually suggest that the playing of "Dixie"
is "bad company." I have never seen or heard of a statement
of more ignorance than that. What needs to happen is for white
and Black Mississippians to come to the table of brotherhood and
share their thoughts, feelings and history. Perhaps hate groups
such as the KKK have adopted the Battle Flag for their agenda.
However, it does not, and will not EVER take away form its original
and TRUE meaning. It is a flag of many people of many ethnicities
coming together to save their country from an invading army and
government that did not respect nor understand. If more blacks
would embrace ALL of their history instead of allowing outside
groups and agendas rule what they think and believe, they would
realize that by defending the Battle Flag and all things representative
of the CSA they defend their own history.
Before you suggest that I am some "white supremacist, let
me assure you nothing could be further from the truth. I am a
devoted BLACK Confederate historian and descendant of TWO Virginia
slave families based in the Richmond area. While I was raised
in the Valley Forge, PA area, I was raised Southern by a strong
willed "Big Mama" who taught me to "go for your
destiny but never forget your history." My own mother spoke
of fireside chats with her grandfather and the other grandkids
about the efforts of Black Confederates. I am also a 1st Sergeant
with the 37th Texas Cavalry [reenactors]. We are a gathering of
professional and amateur historians dedicated to scholarly research
and documentation on the history of Confederates of Color and
Confederates in general. We have amassed well over 100 pages of
text and picture based FACTS that all come with documentation.
We mostly use NORTHERN sources so they can not be dismissed so
easily. If you possess the courage to be objective and to see
with both eyes, I cordially invite you to view our web site at
http://www.37thtexas.org. We do not tell you how to think or view
the information presented but to view with an open mind.
Your labeling the song Dixie as being "childish" is
in itself childish and very ignorant to say the least. I strongly
suggest you read the works of such great Black Historians as DR
Edward Smith of American University, Dr Walter Williams of George
Mason University, and Dr Ervin Jordan of the University of Virginia
before you speak of this subject so blindly again. It is understandable
why SOME folks bristle at the sight of anything Confederate or
listening to the singing of Dixie. HOWEVER, hiding history is
not the answer either. Blacks and whites must be willing to LISTEN
to each other and embrace ALL of their history and realize that
it is a history that embraces ALL of us. In the words of Dr. Edward
Smith of American University, "History is ugly and hurtful
at times. However if you wish to remain true to the profession
ALL of it MUST be told."
What I can not understand is why there is not equal criticism
of the US flag and its "patriotic songs." Have you heard
of the "Trail of Tears?" Ask Native Americans about
the true meaning of the US flag. Speak to descendants of the Irish
immigrants who were greeted with bigotry when they arrived in
the US. In Boston, MA alone businesses told the Irish, "Irish
and dogs not welcome" or "Irish need not apply."
Also, it was the US FLAG that flew over slave ships, NOT the CSA
Battle Flag. It was the North, particularly the states of Connecticut,
Rhode island, and New York which financed and conducted the whole
slave trade. While we are on the subject, why not protest Portugal
and its flags and symbols it was a Portuguese slave ship that
first brought slaves to Jamestown, VA. Would I suggest people
actually go out and do this. Certainly not. Why? Because like
your attack on the Beloved song "Dixie" it is RIDICULOUS.
Like it or not the singing of Dixie, the flying of the Battle
flag, and the embracing of CSA History heritage is NOT a white
or black thing. Its a SOUTHERN thing!
In Memory of Silas Chandler (MS), Henry "Dad" Brown
(SC), and Bill Yopp (GA)... Black Confederate and PROUD!
1st Sergeant Bob Harrison
37th Texas Cavalry, Company B, CSA