African Americans have fought for the United States in every war the US has been. However as Van Gosse points out in his opinion column for The New York Times, the US Civil War film, Glory leads viewers to conclude that this was the first military action African Americans participated in. In January 1776, George Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army and all-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
Mention black soldiers in the Civil War today, and most people will immediately think of the 1989 film “Glory,” in which relatively enlightened Union officers train and then lead an all-black infantry regiment into battle. Part of the film’s power comes from the way that it gives the impression that employing black Americans as soldiers was a radically new idea.
But that wasn’t the case at all: the role of black men fighting for the United States had been a source of intense controversy since the Revolution. Indeed, to understand the politics behind the 1863 decision to finally enlist them, as well as Lincoln’s refusal even to consider it up to that point, requires an understanding of the long, fraught history of black soldiers in early America.
Read the rest of the article at Beyond ‘Glory’ – NYTimes.com.
As one of the leading scholars of African American history, Henry Louis Gates Jr. has released his new 500-plus page chronicle of African American history in the United States. From what I have seen of Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008 looks to become the definitive test on the African American experience. Dave Sowders of the Houston Chronicle reviews Gates’ book with a focus on how Texas is represented in it.
In , Henry Louis Gates Jr. gives readers the view from the African-American side of the divide. The Harvard scholar traces the history of African-Americans from the arrival of the first slave to the election of Barack Obama as president.
Telling such an epic tale requires a big book, and this one includes almost 500 large format pages and hundreds of essays written around more than 700 illustrations and photos.
The book’s segmented format does not produce an exhaustive narrative but rather short snapshots of subjects informed by Gates’ lifetime of scholarship. While these pieces are brief, they do not lack depth. And the history he recounts often is at odds with the history we remember from school, partly because he goes into areas most school courses do not and partly because he tells things the way they were, not the way we would like them to be.
Read the rest of the review at Review: Life Upon These Shores, by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. | Bookish | a Chron.com blog.
With the release of Clint Eastwood’s move J. Edger, new interest in the life of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover has increased. J. Edgar Hoover became the Director of the Bureau of Investigation, the predecessor of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1924. Hoover was instrumental in the creation of the FBI in 1935, where he became its first Director. A position he held until his death in 1972. There have long been rumors that J. Edgar Hoover was gay and a cross-dresser. Author Millie McGhee claims in her book, Secrets Uncovered: J. Edgar Hoover released in 2000, that he was African American. Barbara A. Reynolds of The Root reports on Millie McGhee’s claims.
Clint Eastwood in his new movie J. Edgar artfully surfaced a well- guarded secret that the FBI czar who reigned over the bureau for 47 years was gay and involved in a long-term relationship with an aide.
Nevertheless there is yet another skeleton pounding on the closet to be let out.
Could J. Edgar Hoover also be African-American?
In some quarters this racial rumor has been whispered about as widely as Hoover’s sexuality. Eastwood’s avoidance of the issue adds intrigue to the movie’s main storyline. As Hoover was digging up dirt on presidents, spying and harassing civil rights leaders, he was cross-dressing and carrying on an affair with Clyde Tolson, the FBI’s number two man.
“Edgar Hoover was a black man passing for white,” says Millie McGhee, an African-American living in Southern Maryland, who has written two books Secrets Uncovered: J.Edgar Hoover-The Relative and Secrets Uncovered : J. Edgar Hoover Passing For White?
Read the rest of the article at Was J. Edgar Hoover black? – The Root DC Live – The Washington Post.
One of the most complicated stories in American history–the saga of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, the issue of slavery, and the slaves and freed blacks who worked Jefferson’s plantation–is going to be tackled by the Smithsonian Institution.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello announced Tuesday they are collaborating on a new exhibition on Jefferson and slavery.
“Monticello is one of the leading, if not the leading historic site, that has done brilliant research on their enslaved people. They have pioneered with the public to bring the understanding that there is more to the story of Thomas Jefferson,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, a historian and the founding director of the African American museum.
Story by Jacqueline Trescott – The Washington Post; Photo by Matt Kozlowski
The metaphor behind the design of the new Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial is lost on no one in the remote and ordinary spots where the civil rights movement unfolded.
“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of a mountain of despair a stone of hope,” King said in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech.
Across the South, a half-century of difficult hewing has produced dozens of memorials at the still highly charged scenes of murders, marches and triumphs. Among them, bus stops, lunch counters, a bridge and schools.
Read More at Traveling the civil rights trail – The Washington Post.
Story by Jim Carrier – The Washington Post