The Civil War is a tricky subject in any part of the United States of America, a reminder of state sovereignty and the capability of mankind to betray and fight against their own brothers and sisters. We are where we are today because of the sacrifices of subjects who fought against injustices and demanded a better future for their families.
No matter if you are from the North or South of the country, you'll agree that there is no place where the war is as hotly debated as South Carolina. The state played a prominent role in the war for the Confederate army, and now, lawmakers want to honor some of the members who they say have gone unrecognized for too long.
State representatives Bill Chumley and Mike Burns have created legislation that would establish a monument to black soldiers who served in the Confederate Army. They both previously voted against removing the Confederate flag from the State House in 2015, until it was taken down after a white supremacist shot nine members of a Charleston church to death.
Their efforts are borne out of a desire to see the loyal contributions of soldiers recognized for their willingness to lay down their lives in support of the Confederacy.
“While there is representation of those African-Americans from South Carolina who took up arms for the Union, there is nothing to show the contributions, sacrifices and honor of their Confederate counterparts,” the bill states.
However, many individuals have stepped up to criticize this move. In particular is Walter Edgar, who served as director of the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Southern Studies for 32 years, and has even authored a book on the history of the state.
“In all my years of research, I can say I have seen no documentation of black South Carolina soldiers fighting for the Confederacy,” he says. “In fact, when secession came, the state turned down free (blacks) who wanted to volunteer because they didn’t want armed persons of color.”
The facts seem to support this claim. Records from the South Carolina Department of History and Archives offer no evidence that any African-Americans ever received payment for fighting on the Confederate side.
But what it does mention is a relatively unknown tidbit that Chumley and Burns intend to utilize in order to pass their legislation.