I am a fairly respected writer

There’s been a bit of an uproar recently over a series of new “history” books in Virginia, which amongst other errors, repeat the bullshit claim that African Americans fought on behalf of the Confederacy during the Civil War:

“I absolutely could not believe the number of mistakes — wrong dates and wrong facts everywhere. How in the world did these books get approved?” said Ronald Heinemann, a former history professor at Hampden-Sydney College.

To be fair, much of what we teach our elementary school children about our nation’s past is a carefully sanitized, if not outright mythologized version of American history, but really… a century and a half after Fort Sumter, and the South is still fighting to defend its traditional values? Can’t we just settle this once and for all that slavery was bad (you know, for the slaves), and that in fighting to maintain the institution, the South was on the wrong side of history? No ifs, ands or buts?

Of course the author, Joy Masoff, vehemently defends her work:

“As controversial as it is, I stand by what I write. I am a fairly respected writer.” But when it came to one of the Civil War’s most controversial themes — the role of African Americans in the Confederacy — she relied primarily on an Internet search, according to the report. And the results were based on the work of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a neo-confederate group based in Tennessee.

Masoff’s other literary achievements include “Oh Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty” and “Oh Yikes! History’s Grossest Moments.”

Now that’s what I call quality scholarship, and since we both primarily rely on the Internet for our research, I suppose that makes me a “fairly respected writer” too. Maybe I should put my Ivy League history degree to good work, and write some elementary school textbooks? Couldn’t do much worse.

Comments

  1. 1

    drool spews:

    It will be great if she writes a book about the attacks of Sept 11. She no doubt will rely on a bunch of truthers for her research.

  2. 3

    Xar spews:

    Sounds like she should be writing conservative BS textbooks for Texas . . .

    I would also note that Newt Gingrich wrote a book or two about a world in which the South won the civil war, so maybe she has a future in Republican politics too.

  3. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 Your comment says a lot more about you than it does about Goldy.

    P.S., Given how much rightwing psychology is projection, the obvious question to ask is, how old is your daughter?

  4. 9

    Myrtle Mopup spews:

    Goldy: you are “a highly respected writer.” It’s just too bad you can’t be “highly respected” in something a little more lucrative like say, basketball…

  5. 10

    Deathfrogg spews:

    @ 8

    Ah a REAL teabagger.

    Do your Klan buddies know? Or is that just part of the game. I worked with a hard core redneck gay dude 15 years ago. Eddie. Queer as a three dollar bill. I liked the guy, even if he wasn’t the greatest machinist around. He told me something once, about growing up in a very small eastern Oregon town. He told me that he never met a big strong hard core redneck logger type that wasn’t more than four or five beers away from saying “yes”.

    I still snicker when I think about it.

  6. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 “do you touch your children Roger?”

    Damn right I do. When they lie, steal, or hit, they get it right where they deserve it.

  7. 14

    spews:

    I was a Texas elementary school student in the mid fifties, and we learned that slaves were treated much better than yankee
    factory workers. We didn’t get into that whole whippy, selly, property-y, prisonerey, beaty, no payey aspects of slavery. You don’t want to know what we learned about Mexicans.

    OT: I wonder if “Three Dollar Bill” is taken as a nom-de-troll.

  8. 15

    Don Ward spews:

    Blacks did fight for the Confederacy. Just like Russians, French and even Americans fought for the Germans in World War 2.

    The number I’ve always read was around 30,000 to 50,000 although it could be less. I doubt it was more. In most cases the blacks were probably manservants who went to war to serve alongside the young men that they group up with and they were sprinkled around Confederate units. I believe there might have been larger units of black or mixed race soldiers who actively fought in Louisiana regiments as well.

    You might want to try cracking open a history book sometime about the Civil War.

    We should all expect a retraction correcting your mistake shortly, Goldy.

  9. 16

    Xar spews:

    @15: So did Martians. The number I’ve always read was about 1.4 million although it could be less. I doubt it was more. In most cases the Martians were probably just trying to destroy all humans. I believe there might have been larger units of Martian or mixed-species soldiers (with tripod robots) who actively fought in Virginia regiments as well.

    I.e. saying something doesn’t make it so. Have a credible source?

  10. 17

    Don Ward spews:

    I generally don’t banter with anonymous trolls who are too cowardly to give their own name in a debate.

    Nor is it my responsibility to defend something that is a widely regarded historical fact. Goldy (and you) are the ones making the claim that blacks did not fight for the CSA or serve in its armed forces. It’s up to you to find that evidence to back up that far-fetched claim.

    But before you do, take care to do some research. You might want to look up the curious case of the Corps d’Afrique in the Louisiana Native Guard. The regiment fought on both sides during the Civil War.

    We’re still awaiting a retraction, correcting his mistake from Goldy.

  11. 18

    czechsaaz spews:

    @7 & 15

    Troll didn’t actually read the article linked. Here’s an interesting point from it:

    “In short, if one sticks solely to the historical record for primary evidence of the black soldier picking up arms and fighting for the South, one can only conclude that the support for such a claim is scanty at best – merely anecdoctal – and entirely unsubstantiated at worst. Instead of the widely claimed and purported number of 30,000 fighting black soldiers for the Confederacy, an honest look at the historical record leads one to the conclusion that as little as under a hundred to as many as several hundred blacks may have actually engaged in combat for the South during the Civil War by actually carrying and discharging a weapon.”

    I suppose it is possible that many confederate soldiers rounded up a couple of their slaves to carry the bagage and corn mash but it would be a stretch to call that “fighting.”

    So just for the sake of arguement if 300 blacks actually served in the confederate army (note: IN not served the army) at its peak there were about 480,000 active soldiers that would be less than on one hundreth of a percent. (kind of like the number of blacks we see at the modern Republican National Conventions.)

    Meanwhile, in the FINAL month of the war, the confederacy authorized 300,000 black soldiers, soldiers who never materialized. What does that tell the casual observer? That the average southerner was so offended by the very idea of black soldiers that they would rather conscipt their own color THREE TIMES (1862 twice, and 1864 once) than serve with blacks. I guess desperate times….

    Thank you for a look at the history book. Keep makin’ shit up as you go and it might stick.

  12. 19

    Tom Fitzpatrick spews:

    Re 15, 18 et al. Both McPherson in Battle Cry of Freedom (1988 hardbound edition, pp 831-840) and Shelby Foote in The Civil War (1986 paperback ed., vol 3, pp 859-861) discuss in some detail. A bill to establish one or more slave army units (“No freedom for you!”) was debated in the Confederate Congress, passed the house and failed in the senate. Virginia organized a small unit on its own; apparently they drilled but saw no combat. Money quote from Howell Cobb of Georgia: “If slaves will make good soldiers our whole theory of slavery is wrong.”

  13. 20

    proud leftist spews:

    Would someone please explain to me why wingnuts are invested in wanting to prove that some slaves fought for the Confederacy? History is full of examples of humans who take action against their own self-interest (e.g., blue collar Americans who vote for today’s brand of Republicans). So what objective are these people pursuing?

  14. 21

    Don Ward spews:

    No, what is confusing is why some people are so emotionally invested in wanting to assert that blacks (free blacks, slaves, Creoles, mixed race) did not serve in the CSA army and navy.

    Human history is full of such examples of oppressed peoples working for their “masters” against the best interest of their bretheren. Although it’s probably impossible to determine the exanct numbers but I’d wager that a large percentage were house slaves who enjoyed a higher status than that of the field slaves and thus were more economically and emotionally attached to the continuation of the Southern plantation system.

    Who knows…

    There were about 3.5 million slaves in the Southern states (this doesn’t included free blacks, Creoles etc from Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, etc). Of these, less than one percent (probably far less) served the CSA; mostly as manservants, hospital orderlies, drovers but also as scouts, musicians, drummers, but there were also larger military units that were formed (see 17, 19).

    There are Confederate apologists out there who’d like to extrapolate that the South was in the right because of the fact that a very small minority of blacks and slaves fought alongside their masters.

    I’m not one of them.

    But I’m also not a historical revisionist who’ll white wash unpleasant articles in the past just because it offends modern sensibilities. Bad things happen in war and it’s important to remember so they don’t occur again.

  15. 22

    drool spews:

    The revisionists (and southern celebrants of the civil war) like to conveniently leave out that the preservation of slavery was written into the Confederate States’ constitution.

  16. 23

    Steve spews:

    “what is confusing is why some people are so emotionally invested”

    You mean like someone who would throw out a “I heard” number like “30,000 to 50,000″ with no basis in fact?

  17. 25

    David spews:

    @20;

    It’s an extension of the “everyone does it so it can’t be wrong” mentality taken to its extreme limit.

    See, if it can be proved that some slaves fought on the Confederate side, (no matter how few or if they served at gunpoint) then that means that slaves really had it GOOD! So, the fact that the South fought on the morally bankrupt side and lost, then carried on Jim Crow to this day doesn’t matter, because obviously slavery was just FINE and all the uppity people need to just stop believing bad things about bigotry and racism.

  18. 26

    ld spews:

    “I am a fairly respected writer”, but you are apparently completely ignorant about what the debt of this country is about to do to the entire US as we have known it.

    Social Security BANKRUPT
    Medicare BANKRUPT
    US Government BANKRUPT
    State Government BANKRUPT
    Local Government BANKRUPT

    No one will escape the financial ruin that will hit them as a result of this government’s ridiculous financial condition, and you are seeing it in Home value losses, Bond Value losses, Interest Income nill, just to name the early failures. Stay tune, and if you think your pensions are secure from this failure, I have some very cheap waterfront property in the desert to sell you!

  19. 28

    your wife's pimp spews:

    “I am a fairly respected writer”

    ummm, ya…not so much.

    …but go ahead and keep patting yourself on the back there big boy….

  20. 29

    TJ spews:

    Goldstein shrieks:

    ‘I’m a fairly respected writer’

    Whatever you have to tell yourself to make yourself feel much more relvant and important to anything in society than you really are there Mr. Tenderhands.

    Chronically unemployed political muck-raking sexually frustrated bloggers that beg for money under the bullshit front of a “fund drive” and take handouts/plane tickets/etc. from his Mommy while in his 40′s tend to do that. Pathetic.

    Good luck asshole, and get a fucking job if you want to be taken seriously.

  21. 30

    TJ spews:

    ’11. Roger Rabbit spews:
    @8 “do you touch your children Roger?”
    Damn right I do. When they lie, steal, or hit, they get it right where they deserve it.’

    Better watch yourself old timer, frail and senile old men that drag around oxygen tanks are hardly one to queef about the above. Glass houses, stones, and all that shit. Bring it on tough guy!

  22. 31

    rhp6033 spews:

    Coming in late to the discussion, but I was on vacation at the time….

    This subject is a recurring debate on civil war history discussion boards. The person trying to make the point is trying to argue that the war wasn’t about “slavery”, it was about “states rights”, “tariffs”, “right of seccession”, etc.

    The apologists for the Confederacy recognize that slavery is an indefensible topic, so they try to argue that slavery wasn’t the issue. But that ignore the very big elephant in the room.

    There were indeed blacks, slave or free, whom accompanied the Confederate armies either as as manservants of officers, wagoneers, laborers, cooks, etc. But they weren’t under arms, so they generally couldn’t have been counted as having “fought” for the Confederacy. There were some portraits of blacks dressed up in uniform and displaying revolvers, swords, etc., but no supporting evidence that they ever carried those weapons outside the photographic studio.

    In fact, there was general outrage (and phobia) about blacks carrying weapons in the South. Carrying a weapon in battle was a sign of manhood, and if a slave was a man, then what justification was there to treat him as mere property? There was also the considerable fear that slave carrying weapons would turn them on their masters at the earliest opportunity, the Nate Turner rebellion (and others) was always in the minds of southerners, especially those from states like Mississippi and Louisianna where the slaves outnumbered the whites.

    The most likely instances of a slave “fighting for the Confederacy” might have been an incidental occassion where a manservant was protecting his master during an ambush, or more likely in the western states where there were a number of free blacks, some of whom were actually slaveholders (especially in the New Orleans region). The Trans-Mississippi region was the American frontier at the time, and loyalties there might depend simply upon who was attacking whom at the time. A free black settler might have chosen to fight for the Confederacy to avoid being captured and placed into slavery by the Confederate-allied Cherokees (who kept slaves themselves).