Three Memorial Days at Vicksburg

From the 1870s to the 1930s, Vickburg routinely had three different Memorial Day observances: one for Confederate veterans; one for white Union veterans; and one for black Union veterans. Confederate Veterans April 26 was designated Confederate Memorial Day in Mississippi. On this day, thousands gathered at the Confederate section of the city cemetery. Events were often organized in a joint effort by the Ladies Confederate more »

Outrages and Murders, Louisiana, 1868

Freedom for the slaves was short-lived. Hundreds of whites in Louisiana would see to that. Just as assertively, former slaves continued to fight for justice and secure their hard-won rights, often losing their lives in the struggle. Racial violence was so omnipresent in 1868, just three years after the end of the Civil War, that the Freedman’s Bureau assistant commissioner for the state of Louisiana more »

Freedmen’s Bureau – Mississippi, 1863

The massive records of the Freedmen’s Bureau (more formally, the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands) are now available online. FamilySearch, the National Archives, and the mobilization of thousands of volunteers made this effort possible. Among these records are the “Pre-Bureau” Records of Mississippi, which are some of the earliest Freedmen’s Bureau records available. This particular subset of records documents the efforts of John more »

Men of Color to Arms

The poster above is featured in the online portal for the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The broadside was issued on July 6, and prominently mentions both Port Hudson and Milliken’s Bend as examples of black bravery on the battlefield. It is directed to a literate, well-informed, free black population in the North. Frederick Douglass is attributed as the more »

Free State of Jones – movie review

Life, war, and survival during this era was extremely brutal and cruel. The film Free State of Jones is not for the squeamish. One of the first things that strikes you about this film is its intense brutality. And that’s as it should be. The film opens by showing, at times in gory detail, the aftermath of a Civil War battle. And while these scenes more »