Marker for black Confederates rejected

Feb. 16, 2011 at 5:46 PM

MONROE, N.C., Feb. 16 (UPI) -- Officials in a North Carolina county say a proposed monument naming blacks who served in the Confederate Army is not suitable for the courthouse lawn.

The marker was proposed by Tony Way, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who lives in Monroe, seat of Union County, The Charlotte Observer reported Wednesday. The marker would have listed 10 Union County blacks, nine of them slaves when the Civil War began, who were eventually paid state pensions for their service.

County officials recently rejected his plan. They say other war memorials at the courthouse only list the names of those who died or, in the case of the Civil War monument, the regiments that participated.

David Blight of Yale University said the blacks in the Confederate armies played a supporting role, as ditch diggers and body servants, and many deserted to the Union side as soon as they could. That makes memorials a touchy question.

"For neo-Confederates, it was a way of legitimizing the Confederacy in the popular memory: 'Look, the blacks supported us, too,'" he said. "If they were there, they were impressed or ordered into service. They were not soldiers."

But Mattie Rice, 88, is proud of her father's Civil War service. Wary Clyburn accompanied his master's son to war and rescued him on at least one occasion.

When Clyburn died in 1930, he was buried in a Confederate uniform.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more news from UPI.com
Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories