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Civil War and Civil Rights

It was fear mostly that kept free black men from being accepted for enlistment in the early days of the Civil War (1861-1865).  Although they had fought in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812, the uprisings and revolts of later years encouraged government worry about arming black men. Yet while riots and desertion were plentiful when it came to drafting white men into the war, those black men who were committed to fighting for freedom were turned away … at first.

It didn’t take long before the fierce fighting took its toll on the number of troops on both sides, however. It may have been the Confederacy that first realized it was outnumbered and overwhelmed by the success of the North. It was the South that came up with the idea of arming slaves to fight for their cause, thus ensuring freedom for those who would fight (any attempt to return a black Confederate soldier to slavery would be useless after this). In the North, Congress approved the formation of black regiment of troops on July 17, 1862, but it would be January 1, 1863, before President Lincoln officially instituted this as a clause in the Emancipation Proclamation.  (Blue, Gray, and Black: African Americans in the Civil War)

On August 1, 1863, a brief editorial was published in the Pacific...

Last updated 09/14/2017 by P. Higo
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