Over the past few days there’s been a discussion over whether one can impose a useful typology of blogs, bloggers, blogging activity, and so on. One of the issues that came up during this discussion was the frustration expressed by some people with the continuing theme of African Americans and the Confederate army. Setting aside the issue that such a discussion is just as much about content (historical scholarship) as it is about how people remember (and distort) the past, one can say that catching distortions of the past (especially in the media) is an activity that historians undertake all the time. Still, it would be nice to bring everyone together, even if for one special moment, when content and “black Confederates” met at the crossroads … or Crossroads.
I had next to no interest in the tale of the erection of a monument in North Carolina commemorating “Confederate pensioners of color.” Other people, including Kevin Levin, were far more interested in it, as one can see here, here, and here. Accounts of the ceremony seemed to take great care in discussing what these ten men did during the war … until a local television station stepped right in it and openly declared: “Ten black military soldiers finally got the honor they deserve 150 years later.”
I visited the website, saw there was a comments section, and left a comment challenging the content of the article. Other historians chimed in:
So imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link this morning and read the article, which now begins (albeit awkwardly):
“Friends and family of ten black military men finally got to see them honored 150 years later.”
Now, I don’t quite know what “military men” means, but at least they are no longer called soldiers.
And so we’ve used the power of the internet to correct incorrect content while addressing that thorny issue of “black Confederates,” and all is well with the world. Right?