Anatomy of a myth: The collective memory of African American Confederate soldiers
This article explores the belief that African Americans fought for the Confederacy as well as the Union during the U.S. Civil War. Collective memory among university students is examined for evidence of the belief, and the narrative elements included are analyzed. Data come from a survey sample of undergraduate and graduate students (N=1,305) at a large public university in a former Confederate state. The survey included an open-ended question asking respondents to describe African American participation in the Civil War. Although the belief has little basis in historical fact, 16% of respondents volunteered the belief that African Americans fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War, and an additional 4% made a similar but more qualified statement. The distribution of responses was analyzed in terms of respondents’ social background characteristics, showing that having an ancestor who fought in the Civil War (for either side) was associated with the belief that African Americans fought for the Confederacy. Qualitative analysis explored narrative strategies employed by respondents, including efforts to explain (or explain away) the contradiction of believing that African Americans fought to preserve the system that enslaved them.
- There are currently no refbacks.
Copyright (c) 2017 Gabriel A. Reich & Amy Corning
Historical Encounters is a double blind peer-reviewed, open access, interdisciplinary journal dedicated to the empirical and theoretical study of historical consciousness, historical cultures, and history education.
The journal is published by the HERMES History Education Research Network concentrated at The University of Newcastle, Australia. The journal publishes a single regular issue in June each year, and a special issue in the December. To ensure timely availability of scholarship, articles and reviews are published as soon as they have been successfully through the peer review and editorial processes, adding cumulatively to the content for the single regular issue each year. No fees are charged for subscription or publication. The journal is indexed in SCOPUS, DOAJ, Index Didacticorum, and Google Scholar, and periodically archived in the National Library of Australia's PANDORA Archive. Contributors to the journal retain copyright to their work. Please read the Copyright Notice for full details.
Click here to download the Journal Information booklet, with complete Author Guidelines.
A/ Professor Robert J. Parkes, PhD
Editor-in-Chief | Historical Encounters
Faculty of Education and Arts
The University of Newcastle
Callaghan NSW 2308 Australia
All correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org