Cause of the Civil War

By Gene Betit | March 15, 2019 |

According to official Confederate mythology, states’ rights, not slavery, was the issue that caused the brutal war that went on so long, as if either issue would have meant much to most of the illiterate Southern yeoman farmers who constituted the bulk of Southern soldiery. In fact, there were a number of counties that refused…

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What Got me Started

By Gene Betit | March 14, 2019 |

Having lived in Virginia for about 51 of my 76 years, I decided to audit a course in Virginia history taught by Professor Warren Hofstra at Shenandoah University nearly eight years ago. I was surprised when Warren emphasized racism, a subject I never thought much about. I should have, because for more than two decades…

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Black Heroism; Delayed Recognition

By Gene Betit | November 14, 2018 |

The 93rd Division’s 369th Regiment was the first American unit to see combat, deployed to the front in mid-April 1918 and assigned a four-and-a half-mile sector by the French. At the time, the regiment comprised less than one percent of American troops in Europe, yet it held twenty percent of the territory defended by American…

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Collective Amnesia: American Apartheid African Americans’ 400 Years in North America, 1619-2019 Contents

By Gene Betit | October 24, 2018 |

Dedicated to African Americans, Freedmen and slave Who stood by the Union in her time of trial And to their descendants Who kept the faith Despite segregation and hate Chapter One Racism and White Supremacy: America’s “Original Sin?”        (25 pages) Chapter Two Slavery: America’s “Peculiar Institution”            …

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Who and What was Jim Crow?

By Gene Betit | October 17, 2018 |

The short answer is that no one knows how the name originated. What is known is that in 1832 an entertainer born in Manhattan, Thomas Dartmouth “Big Daddy” Rice, wrote a song and dance he called “Jim Crow.” Rice applied blackface makeup and imitated slave dialect for his performances, birthing a type of minstrel show…

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By Gene Betit | September 27, 2018 |

Redemption employed terror, fraud and intimidation as white minority Southern Democrats achieved political control once Union forces were withdrawn from the South after the watershed election of 1876. These techniques continued to be used for some degree for a hundred years, up to the end of the modern Civil Rights era

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Southern Post-War Views of Slavery

By Gene Betit | September 26, 2018 |

Once the guns went silent, Southerners embraced fascinating views about slavery and the war’s cause. Edward A. Pollard, wartime editor of the Richmond Examiner and the first to popularize the South’s “Lost Cause” mythological version of the war in his book The Lost Cause; A New Southern History of the War of the Confederates, opined,…

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Black Confederates in Butternut and Gray

By Gene Betit | September 25, 2018 |

The Confederacy’s policy of arming slaves went through fascinating twists and turns. On January 11, 1865, Lee conceded that “military necessity” necissitated arming slaves “without delay.” But bureaucracy does not progress rapidly; President Davis did not sign enabling legislation until March 13 — about three weeks before Lee surrendered at Appomattox, a case of “too little, too late.”

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United States Colored Troops

By Gene Betit | September 24, 2018 |

Few students of American history are aware of the critical role African Americans played in their own liberation – even “experts” who follow the Civil War rarely appreciate how critical their participation was. At first, the Union carefully avoided any threat to slavery because of the need to cultivate the Border States and pacify Unionists…

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Lincoln’s Views on Slavery

By Gene Betit | September 24, 2018 |

For a man with nearly no formal education, Abraham Lincoln was one of our most intelligent and capable presidents. He wisely conceded, “American slavery…belongs to our politics, to our industries, to our commerce and to our religion. Every portion of our territory in some form or other has contributed to the growth and to the…

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