Regarding “Petition seeks to remove Denton Confederate statue”
Good Day to you!
Once again,” political correctness” rears its ugly head in beautiful Denton, Texas. As an African American I find the selective inclusion of “acceptable” aspects of black history to the exclusion of others to be highly racist and willfully ignorant. I also find this whole concept of “white guilt” to be equally ignorant as well.
I was born of two Virginia slave families from King and Queen County and Southampton County as well. I am well versed in the trials and tribulations of slavery and what my family had to endure. I am also well versed in the fact that, like our white brothers and sisters, we two were divided in our loyalties of the time. I am descended from several combat veterans, and I find the very idea of anyone dishonoring the history and legacy of Black Confederates to be racist and dishonest.
I have been a historian all my life, having grown up in the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania area and reenacting as a Black Confederate for about 7 years now. My unit, the 37th Texas Cavalry has spent a great amount of time conducting grave marker dedications and battling hate groups seeking to hijack CSA heritage for their own personal use. Twice we have given memorial services in Darlington, SC, in honor of Private Henry “Dad” Brown, installing a flag of the 21st South Carolina Volunteer regimental flag.
Assisting us in placing Henry Brown’s Confederate grave marker were then-Republican SC Senator Glenn McConnell and Democratic South Carolina Senator Kay Patterson. Imagine that; a white republican and a Black Democrat coming together as brothers to honor a Black Confederate. The flavor of that Day can best be summed in the words of Senator Kay Patterson, “Though I would have chosen a different path, we are in Henry Dad Brown’s House and we all march together.”
I have also reenacted the life and times of Private Dick Poplar, soldier of the 13th Virginia Cavalry, and a prisoner of war held at Point Lookout, Maryland. Though constantly abused daily to take the Oath of Allegiance, he flatly refused to turn his back on his comrades and his beloved Southland stating, “I am a Jeff Davis man.”
Aside from reenacting with the Point Lookout Lee’s Miserables unit, all with several other fine Southerners, I have assisted in the grave marker dedication for Dick Poplar at Blandford Cemetery in Petersburg, Virginia, well attended by Southerners of every race, color, and hue. I further add this same service resulted in a proclamation given by then Mayor Milkens of Petersburg honoring the annual celebration of Dick Poplar Day which is fully supported by the fine citizens of Petersburg every year. Perhaps the citizens of Denton and its elected officials could take heed of the lessons given by the fine citizens of Petersburg, Virginia.
Black Confederate History is full to over-flowing with many examples of Black Southerners who admirably served the Confederate cause and of their own free will.
Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, Confederate Veteran, Volume XXVIII (1920), Forgotten Confederates Bill Yopp, colored, enlisted in the 14th Georgia Infantry on July 9, 1861, as a drummer. He surrendered at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865.
Battlefields of the South. Vol. 2, page 253 At the Battle of Seven Pines, or Fair Oaks, near Richmond (May 31 and June 1, 1862), a black cook and minister named Pomp who was serving with an Alabama regiment got excited, picked up a rifle and went into the battle. He was heard yelling at his regiment, “Der Lor’ hab mercy on us all, boys, here dey comes agin! Dar it is,” he shouted, as the Yankees fired over their heads, “just as I taught! Can’t shoot worth a bad five-cent piece. Now’s de time, boys!” As the Alabamians returned with a withering fire and mounted a furious charge, the black minister was heard shouting, “Pitch in, white folks- Uncle Pomp’s behind yer. Send all de Yankees to de ‘ternal flames, whar dere’s weeping and gnashing of-sail in Alabama; stick ’em wid de bayonet, and send all de blue ornery cusses to de state of eternal fire and brimstone!”
Black Confederates and Afro-Yankees in Civil War Virginia, Ervin L. Jordan, Jr., (Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1995) pp. 218-219 Tennessee in June 1861 became the first in the South to legislate the use of free black soldiers. The governor was authorized to enroll those between the ages of fifteen and fifty, to be paid $18 a month and the same rations and clothing as white soldiers; the black men appeared in two black regiments in Memphis by September.
All of my younger life I was be spoon-fed the politically motivated “Great Emancipator” version of history only to come away confused when my elders would give me the real unedited version. Historical truth is a hard road to travel. There are times when it confronts the very core of what we think is real. However, truth is still truth and we all must face it whether we want to or not. It is my sincere hope that the city of Denton, Texas to show courage and Southern might against such silliness and political Correctness.
At Your Service,
Bob Harrison, 1st Sergeant
37th Texas Cavalry, CSA