Erasing Color Lines–Victorian Style

During the American Civil War, the Confederate Louisiana Native Guard was comprised of a military unit of men of color. During the breakout of war, they were eager to defend their homeland. In fact that were front and center in two Louisiana military grand reviews on November 23, 1861 and January 7, 1862.

For these moments to be recorded in history speaks to the significance in United States Military History. However, Confederate Officers would not deploy these qualified men into active duty. This continues to be a sign of the times. As an example, Frederick Douglass likewise pleaded to Abraham Lincoln to muster Blacks into service at the beginning of the war.

The names of the soldiers in the Confederate Louisiana Native Guard are recorded at the National Archives and Record Administration. See the Confederate Soldier Service Records for the “First Native Guards, Militia,” Catalog ID 586957 and microfilm M320. These men were Atlantic Creoles of West African, European, and Caribbean descent.

In addition, many historians draw color lines and state that the Louisiana Creoles denied their African ancestry. When in fact, these men simply wanted to erase the color lines and be acknowledged, recognized, and deployed into active duty as equals. Their first and foremost choice as men was to fight with the Confederacy.

Thus, the featured photograph is a 19th Century Creole–woman–representative of us all.

Highlighting the good in humanity,
Ann Dewitt

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