Black Southerners


The Great Awakening in Wilson County, Tennessee

It is often said that “a watched pot doesn’t boil”.  Today I’d like to alter that saying to “A watched pot doesn’t boil over.”And I’d like to add that “A watched pressure cooker doesn’t blow up.” The idea here is to prevent a situation from getting out of hand and making a mess in the environment.  This article is to…
Barbara Marthal
November 30, 2023
BlogReview Posts

African Founders and Albion’s Seed

I've often been asked a variation of the same question: "If you had to choose one American history book to recommend, what would it be?" The answer is simple: David Hackett Fischer's Albion's Seed. I don't make this suggestion lightly. There are other fascinating and important works to consider, but Fischer presents a compelling tale of early American culture that…
Brion McClanahan
November 15, 2023

Southern Quakers?

If we want a better understanding of the United States Civil War, we need a comprehensive overview of the southern culture which existed before the four years of the civil war.  This article is written for the purpose of connecting us to a few more variables that influenced elements of southern culture in the United States, starting with the following…
Barbara Marthal
February 21, 2023

“What Shall Be Done With The Blacks?”

The primary source record is clear. A main reason 19th century Southerners were forced to defend slavery as a practical matter was the absolute unwillingness of the North to allow dispersion and integration of the freed people across the Union and its territories. A chronic Northern racism was intent on keeping all blacks bottled up in the South if freed.…
Rod O'Barr
February 15, 2023

America’s Real Peculiar Institution

From the 2005 Abbeville Institute Summer School. When John C. Calhoun spoke of slavery as “the peculiar institution,” he didn't mean to say that there was anything peculiar about slavery, as it has been interpreted since. He only meant to say that slavery was peculiar to the Southern States in the same sense that whaling fleets were peculiar to New…
Clyde Wilson
February 13, 2023

The Glory Days of the Kanawha Canal

Southern essayist and former Lynchburger Dr. George W. Bagby (1828–1883) described departure of one of the bateaux on a trip from Richmond to Lynchburg on the Kanawha Canal, while he was then a lad, in a short piece titled “Canal Reminiscences”: At last we were off, slowly pushed along under the bridge on Seventh Street; then the horses were hitched…
M. Andrew Holowchak
January 9, 2023

Heroes, Heroines, and/or Villains

It was a perfect day to spend outside.  Tree leaves were riding the gentle currents of a fall breeze like giant snowflakes, reflecting the orange, red and gold of a warm autumn sun.  Being of African, Native American and European descent, I was attending a Civil War Re-enactment, the only place where I can enthusiastically share the history of my…
Barbara Marthal
December 1, 2022
BlogClyde Wilson Library

Emancipation and Its Discontents

There is an interesting little noted fact of African American history that would alter current standard views if it were ever to be properly recognised.  The U.S. African American population was in many measurable respects worse off fifty years after emancipation than it had been before the War Between the States. The census of 1900 showed that the average life…
Clyde Wilson
August 12, 2022

A Dangerous Rock Rolling Down Hill

Part 6 in Clyde Wilson’s series “African-American Slavery in Historical Perspective.” Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5. “He who controls the past controls the future.  He who controls the present controls the past.”  George Orwell “Live asses will kick at dead lions.”  Admiral Raphael Semmes In the long run of history, the story of…
Clyde Wilson
April 11, 2022

Grover Cleveland and the South, Part 2

Excerpt from Ryan Walters, Grover Cleveland: The Last Jeffersonian President (Abbeville Institute Press, 2021) While in his first term in the White House, Cleveland decided to make a symbolic gesture of goodwill toward the South. Acting on a recommendation from the secretary of war, the president decided to return captured Confederate battle flags to their respective Southern states. The move,…
Ryan Walters
February 2, 2022

Guess I Won’t Qualify for Reparations

I’ve spent the last forty-five years doing family research and family history. I’ve interviewed some of my older relatives who have now passed on and I’m grateful that I had the foresight to do that. My only regret is that I did not start sooner. This process started around 1977 with the premier of the movie “Roots” the dramatization of…
Barbara Marthal
February 1, 2022

Slavery and Agency

Reviewers are unrelenting in their praise for the new Amazon streaming television series The Underground Railroad, a magic realist cinematographic depiction of the eponymous book by Colson Whitehead, which won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. A review in ABC News calls the show “a masterpiece that raises series TV to the level of art.” The Washington Post has featured…
Casey Chalk
May 31, 2021

Carry Me Back to Old Virginny

In the early 1870s, a young pre-law student at Howard College was inspired by classmate and future wife, Mamie Friend. James Alan Bland would listen to the homesick sentiments of Mamie and her home in tidewater Virginia. During a trip to meet Ms. Friend’s family the two sat down together with pen, paper, and a banjo. Bland composed his song…

Black Confederates in Reconstruction Newspapers

In an editorial published a little over a year after the Civil War ended, a Georgia newspaper writer expressed regret that the South had not accepted "the aid of the negroes" when it was offered. He even went so far as to say "we were fools" for refusing that help, and then he went even further and credited black Union…
Shane Anderson
October 16, 2020

Free Black Slaveowners

Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), known as “The Father of Black History,” was born in Buckingham County, Virginia, the son of former slaves. He received his doctorate from Harvard, rose to prominence as a writer and historian, and was the editor of The Journal of Negro History. He is best known for establishing Black History Week, which evolved into Black…
H.V. Traywick, Jr.
August 5, 2020
Review Posts

The Barber of Natchez

Review of The Barber of Natchez (LSU, 1954, 1973) edited by Edwin Adams Davis and William Ransom Hogan. Author's Note: In 1938 a trove of documents dating from 1793 -1937, "over 60 volumes of account books, "nearly 1400" financial and legal documents, bound and unbound volumes of "rare antebellum newspapers" including 2 editions unknown before, "over 400" sheets of 19th century…
Vito Mussomeli
July 23, 2019

Black Southern Support for Secession and War

Sooner or later any student of the War for Southern Independence will run across discussion of "black Confederates," which may well be the most controversial topic related to the war. From an objective standpoint it might seem odd that there is any controversy at all. The South had a large black population in 1861, mostly slave but some free, and…
Shane Anderson
July 22, 2019

Black Southerners in American Wars

President Trump recently used his executive powers to designate a national monument to honor African Americans’ role as soldiers during the War Between the States. The monument will be a 380-acre site in Kentucky to commemorate Camp Nelson, which was one of the largest recruitment stations for the United States Colored Troops. The unfortunate reality is that the monument will…
Michael Martin
December 12, 2018
Review Posts

A Black Sugar Planter in the Old South

A review of Andrew Durnford, A Black Sugar Planter in the Antebellum South by David O. Whitten, (Transaction Publishers, 1995). I In the year 1800 the Viceroyalty of New Spain was still intact, and Louisiana still part of the Spanish Empire. So, too, was Mexico, Texas, all the Southwest of today's America, north to Kansas and clear to the West Coast…
Vito Mussomeli
November 20, 2018

The Black Confederate and the Teddy Bear

Most people have never heard of Holt Collier - and those who have heard of the "Teddy Bear" may be surprised to learn about his history. Collier was born into slavery in Mississippi in 1848. By his 15th birthday, he had become an expert on wildlife in the Mississippi Delta and was known as one to of the best bear…
Lunelle McCallister
February 10, 2017

David Duke Does Not Represent Conservative Louisiana

The perennial champion of racial division and hatred has, unfortunately, returned to Louisiana politics. Duke’s return will be a boon to his race-hustling counterparts on the left. The likes of Al Sharpton and the Southern Poverty Law Center are no doubt already preparing their mailing list to solicit millions of dollars to fight racism in Dixie. And Duke, one can…
James Ronald Kennedy
August 15, 2016