The Secret History of the Photo at the Center of the Black Confederate Myth
Adam Serwer has written a must-see article for Buzzfeed, on the inisidious lie that slaves fought willingly for the Confederacy in the Civil War.
Silas Chandler’s 1916 pension application would seem to settle the issue of whether he was slave or free: the 11th line asks about the “vessel in which your owner served.” But then there’s that tintype.
Andrew sits with a face like stone, sword resting on his shoulder, a pistol in his hand and one in his belt. Silas sits slightly lower than Andrew, an inscrutable expression on his face: Amusement? Resignation? Happiness? Determination? He carries a smaller knife and the tail end of a shotgun draped across their legs. They are both in uniform, therefore they must both be soldiers, comrades, equals. How could anything else be true?
Read the whole thing. You’ll be glad you did.