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posted by Joseph Certaine on August 17th, 2010 at 11:56 AM

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The history of the fight against chattel slavery in the United States is really the centerpiece of the Civil War Sesquicentennial Observance. Sure, many people want to describe it as a struggle over the economic rights of individual states but we all know that the economy they speak of was built primarily on the forced enslavement of  people of African descent.  It was supported by the legislative, judicial and religious leadership and systems of that time period.

The anger directed at black Americans for participating in the armed struggle for our own freedom persists 149 years later. Not acknowledged are the numerous uprisings of our enslaved ancestors, well before the onset of Civil War. The Civil War  itself provided our ancestors with the vehicle to legitimately take up arms in an organized manner and fight to the death for our freedom. The United States Colored Troops of the Union Army were motivated by the truth that "All men are created equal".  They fought with ferocity and valor. They knew that they faced reenslavement or execution if captured, yet the marched forward toward the Jubilee. How do we allow this history to be kept away from our children and their children's children.  This is more than just the fuel for tourism.

The fact that the military deeds of glory that accompanied the USCT, on their march toward Jubilee, were hidden and ignored by the historians unil recently underscores the importance of the Sesquicentennial. This is the first time in our collective history that we have an opportunity to herald their valor and determination. For us, it is much more than an attempt to compete for tourists dollars in our communities.  It is our first chance to stand before the nation and proudly state that black Americans perservered under the most vicious conditions possible, to fight for their freedom from chattel slavery and in the process came to the aid of the Union at a time when it was needed most .  Our ancestors in the United States Colored Troops epitomized the concept of "Death before Dishonor".

We cannot allow this opportunity to honor our forefathers to become just an exercise for the sake of tourism.  It is clearly a once in a lifetime moment to publicly present our military history of perserverance in the face of great adversity and say to the USCT...well done!   We must continue to carry their banners into the hearts and minds of evryone who cherishes their freedom. That is why we must bring the USCT recognition during this Sesquicentennial Observance.  

last edited on August 17th, 2010 at 1:34 PM

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