With thanks to Kevin Levin at “Civil War Memory for the following story.” Kevin Levin’s post today, at “Civil War Memory,” discusses honoring the slaves that survived the Confederacy:
Kevin Levin, on his blog at “Civil War Memory,”has a post discussing the revival of a Dedication Day ceremony in Fredericksburg, VA:
I am delighted to hear that residents of Fredericksburg, Virginia have resurrected a civic ceremony that was lost as a result of reunion between white Northern and former Confederates. For a number of years after the war the black residents of the city took part in annual marches on Decoration Day to the cemetery to commemorate the bravery of United States soldiers and the cause for which they fought. Those early commemorations constituted a living reminder that the war had profound results for millions of slaves and that its memory would be incomplete without the acknowledgment of emancipation and freedom.
As we all know, however, our own commemorative choices are never simply about the past. They are often reflections of our current political, cultural, and social concerns and this can clearly be discerned in some of the personal reflections of those who attended yesterday. I was struck by the attention to current racial politics. The assumption or hope seems to be that the resurrection of this particular practice may reveal common ground for the healing of racial divisions in the community.
There is an interesting blog, called “The Conscious Community” (TCC) that has a couple of posts today about the history of Memorial Day and its origins with the African-American community. Here is how they describe themselves:
The Conscious Community (TCC) is an informational newsletter focusing on information that has a connection to people of African descent. The Conscious Community e-letter is an activity of The Imani Foundation. The Imani Foundation is a not-for-profit organization which promotes the Uplift of People of Afrikan descent.
Donald Shaffer, on his blog “Civil War Emancipation,” also has some reflections on the origins of Memorial Day.
Andy Hall also has a post on Smalls, on his blog “Dead Confederates” today: http://deadconfederates.com/2012/05/18/to-be-divided-between-robert-smalls-and-his-associates/