Two South Carolina legislators want to erect a monument to honor the state's black soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. There's just one problem: historians say no record of any such soldier exists.
State Rep. Bill Chumley (R-Woodruff) and state Rep. Mike Burns (R-Taylors) pre-filed a bill last month that would establish a commission to design an African-American Confederate veterans monument, reported The State.
Chumley accused historians of trying to undercut his endeavor, which also calls for public schools to teach about the contributions of black people to the Confederate cause.
“We are all learning a lot,” Chumley said. “The purpose of the bill is education.”
But the bill has its detractors, particularly in light of the fact that black people were not permitted to carry guns in South Carolina during the Civil War.
“In all my years of research, I can say I have seen no documentation of black South Carolina soldiers fighting for the Confederacy,” said historian Walter Edgar, the longtime director of the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Southern Studies. “In fact, when secession came, the state turned down free (blacks) who wanted to volunteer because they didn’t want armed persons of color.
Edgar, who wrote a history of the state, said any black person who served in a Confederate unit in South Carolina was either a slave or an unpaid laborer working against his will.