Are we limited in our perspectives in the Civil War blogosphere?

Posted on January 26, 2009 by


After reading a comment made in one of my posts from few days ago, I realized something; something that I had really not thought of before. I think it is revealing in terms of how the Web can erase racial barriers. Nonetheless, of all of those who blog in the Civil War blogosphere, who among us is other than caucasian? I don’t ask this to discriminate, but it leaves me wondering if, while we speculate on any number of subjects tied to slavery and Civil War-related topics concerning African-Americans, we are sorely lacking something critical to a better, more well-rounded understanding of that which we discuss. To me, it seems, at present, that our perspectives are rather limited.

We offer thoughts/opinions on the pains of slavery in historical memory; we offer thoughts/opinions on the role of African-Americans who served the Confederacy; we offer thoughts/opinions on the complications experienced by African-Americans (former slaves especially) in their experiences in transitioning as soldiers to the Union army; we offer thoughts/opinions of the exodus of former slaves to the North, before and during the Civil War… we offer thoughts/opinions and ideas on a number of things in relation to Civil War memory and the impact it continues to have on the historical memory of African-Americans, but are any of us who offer these thoughts/opinions actually at the very center of the very discussions in which we engage? While many of us offer thoughts/opinions that are reflective of our our work and studies in history, can any of us offer opinions of historical memory from the perspective of the African-American and are any of us actually African-American? In many cases, aren’t we simply offering perspectives of perspectives? Don’t we lose something in the value of our discussions because of this? Perhaps we don’t want to know in order to keep racial identity blurred in this setting. Still, isn’t it important to know the perspective of “historical memory” from those who are at the center of the discussion, especially considering some of the discussions in which we engage?

Just some thoughts…