By James Henry Gooding
Here's a vibrant, unforgettable portrait of the Civil struggle as noticeable in the course of the eloquent letters written via a black soldier within the Massachusetts 54th Regiment--the popular regiment featured within the highly-acclaimed motion picture Glory. Gooding's smart, witty and opinionated observations of army existence and the behavior of conflict is impossible to resist.
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Additional resources for On the altar of freedom: a black soldier's Civil War letters from the front
18 Within the next decade, the climate in New Bedford began to change. Revulsion against attempted enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law may have had something to do with it, as well as the regular visits and lectures of eloquent abolitionists like Garrison, Douglass, Charles L. Remond, and Charles C. Burleigh. In 1856 Rodman recorded, July 29-Aug. 3 . . On last sixth evening I stopped on my way to mother's at the Town Hall, where I found a large audience listening to the speech of Fred'k Douglass, the negro orator at the close of the public celebration of the First of August, the anniversary of the British emancipation of the slaves in the English Islands of the West Indies.
The answer is spoken from the cannon's mouth . . " At the war's end the New York Tribune pronounced a true verdict: "It is not too much to say that if this Massachusetts Fifty-fourth had faltered when its trial came, two hundred thousand colored troops for which it was a pioneer would never have been put into the field. . '' Coming at the same time as the draft riots in New York City, where white mobs inflamed by a racist Democratic press attacked blacks, Re- Page xiii publicans, draft offices, and other symbols of Union authority, the Fifty-fourth's heroic behavior quickened a transformation in northern opinion.
D. , Lehigh University, 1973), 12026. Page xxviii on the same basis and with the same pay as other Massachusetts regiments. At first there was even hope that some of the commissioned officers might be African Americans. 38 A well-disciplined regiment of black soldiers, even without black officers, would be a highly visible example of what African Americans were capable of achieving. To serve the cause of freedom, to prove that they were men of conviction and courage, to suffer alongside their fellow citizens whose skins were whitethese were some of the obligations that thoughtful blacks prepared to undertake for the future of their race.
On the altar of freedom: a black soldier's Civil War letters from the front by James Henry Gooding