Of Poetry and Photographs

Escaped Slaves heading north toward the protection of a Union Army.

It’s been one of those weeks… With a new book in the final stages of editing and a surprise list of tasks from the editors and publishers, I did not have a chance to write the article about the Underground Railroad that I had hoped to write for Gazette665’s Friday.

However, I might be able to do double posts for next week, and for this Friday, I offer two articles that I wrote for Emerging Civil War’s Black History Month series in 2018 and 2019.

Thinking About These Photographs

Compared to the number of Civil War photographs of soldiers, civilians, camps, and battlefields, posed photos of horses are rare. Clicking through Library of Congress’s online archives, though, I found some real photographic gems in this category.

Looking closer at these photographs, I noticed some of them had one thing in common. In about half of the posed equestrian photos, a black man or boy controlled the horse or sat aside the animal. Honestly, I felt a little uncomfortable when I first made the observation. Was it a reminder of the racism and evolutionary comparisons plaguing the country that these men and boys were photographed with the animals?

However, as I continued thinking about this troubling subject I came to several conclusions as a researcher.

Read the full article and view the photos on Emerging Civil War:  https://emergingcivilwar.com/2018/02/25/thinking-about-these-photographs/

Freed slaves and Union soldiers

“Freedom!” Their Battle-Cry: 1863 Poetry For African American Soldiers

Poetry has many form and uses, and this writing form has legendarily been used to celebrate heroes. Some of the earliest epics in World History – Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey– were crafted in poetry form. Through meter, rhythm, and rhyme, the tales of warriors from many different eras appear.

The American Civil War inspired a large amount of poetry, much of it still resting in newspapers, private journals, or volumes published shortly after the war. It echoed the long-standing themes of courage, warrior-spirit, lamentations, and memorial memory.

In May 1863 – just a few months after the Emancipation Proclamation allowed African Americans to formally enlisted in Union armies and navies – American poet and playwright George Henry Boker crafted a six stanza poem about the courage of the USCT and what their fight for freedom meant.

Read the full article on Emerging Civil War:  https://emergingcivilwar.com/2019/02/13/freedom-their-battlecry-1863-poetry/

Happy Presidents’ Day Weekend!

Your Historian,

Miss Sarah

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