As you might suspect, not everyone was happy with the History Detectives show exploring the relationship between Andrew and Silas Chandler. That should come as no surprise. But I am astonished at the turn that the discussion has taken in our favorite Confederate Heritage group on Facebook. Oh, no, I expected they’d challenge the show. But I didn’t expect to read comments such as this …
Ann DeWitt: What everyone should know is this. The bloggers, who are against acknowledging the hard work and dedication of African-American military service with the CSA, have drawn the family members of Silas Chandler into the debate. The goal is to prove that Silas Chandler unwillingly went to war with Andrew Chandler. Are the blogger’s motives sincere in protecting the family or are the blogger’s motives centered on promoting their own personal historian careers?
Connie Chastain: Royal (Ms. DeWitt’s screen name on Facebook is Royal Diadem, for reasons she can best explain), what a shame. Family disputes are so sad. And if the bloggers played a role in it, shame on them
Bill Dennison: It’s patently obvious that the families have been approached and pressured to reject what they have believed for a century and a half. Now just who do you think is/are the beneficiaries of that?
Oh, goodness. Now the show’s the result of a plot engineered by bloggers who divided families and pressured the people who appeared on the show to lie. Never mind that there was widespread disagreement in the families as to the facts of Silas Chandler’s life; never mind that Silas’s descendants have minds of their own (the idea that people of color have minds of their own seems to be a foreign concept to some folks); and never mind that the historical record simply shreds the myths that people like Ms. DeWitt, the discoverer of a regiment of black cooks (there’s research for you!) continue to hold dear about Silas Chandler.
If you want to chat with actual members of the Chandler family, several of them have appeared on Kevin Levin’s Civil War Memory. They don’t sound like they have been pressured at all.
Sounds to me like not much has changed in the minds of some folks since the people whose heritage they honor claimed that the slaves were all happy until outside agitators disrupted the peacefulness of plantation life and the slaves got strange ideas in their heads about wanting to be free. Yup, that’s why there was a fugitive slave law, right? To restore the happy world of the plantation, right?
But I should have expected no less. After all, this is also the group where one of Kevin’s favorite posters declared the following:
Not to mention that those slaves who had the misfortune of still living in areas controlled by the Union and in those Cotton States that did not secede stayed slaves even after the Emancipation Proclamation all the way till the moment the 13th Amendment was put into effect on Jan. 1, 1866…a fact most historians leave out.
Now, would anyone care to highlight the misstatements in that claim? Tough to entrust southern heritage to someone who doesn’t know their history very well, isn’t it?
But then again, it’s heritage, not history.
PS: I told you so.