Those who support Southern heritage are often the target of criticism regarding race. On social media it is common for them to be called racists. In his Searching for Black Confederates, Kevin Levin makes strange claims that appear throughout the book. He presents these notions about slaves and black men without any real evidence. It is like he can read their minds and see their hearts.
Some slaves who served with the Confederate army received a state pension. Mr. Levin writes the following about the pension process.
“These men also used the application process to assert their own understanding of the war and laid claim to martial manhood that was often out of reach during and after the war.”
To counter that many of the slaves with the Confederate army talked about combat and described themselves as soldiers he writes:
“…but these men also wanted to convey a sense of their won bravery in the face of conditions that few could fathom.”
“Stephen Moore’s account of being on the battlefield was also likely intended to enhance his reputation at home as someone who stood out from the rest of the enslaved community based on a wholly unique set of experiences that tested his courage and manhood.”
“The reference to himself as a ‘soldier’ may also have been intended as a way to enhance his reputation back home as well as his own sense of self-worth and purpose while attached to the army.”
Mr. Levin cannot take these men at their word, or his stupid theory unravels. Whether Levin meant to or not, he portrays these men in a worse light than the Southerners he hates did. He implies they are less than honest and not as much men as the white Confederates they served or served with.
The next statement is in relation to the treatment of black soldiers who came home from Europe after World War I.
“African Americans who continue to wear their uniforms as an assertion of their manhood and patriotic service to the nation were also targeted.”
There it is again. These bad-ass mother fuckers went and fought well in the trenches, wore their uniforms when they got home, and he claims it is because they felt the need to assert their manhood. Please. I thought the narrative was that whites knew about and were afraid of black manhood. It was about rights, not manhood. They served in a segregated army and lived in segregated cities.
The evidence supports that many blacks proudly served in the Confederate army with and without their masters. Some were in combat and acted heroically. To impugn their characters, present them with low self-confidence, as gutless, and with no agency might be called racist.