When the Yankees Come: Former South Carolina Slaves Remember Sherman's Invasion. Ed. Paul C. Graham. Columbia, SC: Shotwell Publishing, 2016.
Many Americans believe that the coming of the blue soldiers of the North, emissaries of emancipation, was a joyful event for African Americans. Nothing could be further from the truth.
How do we know this? Because we have their recorded accounts.
Ending slavery, contrary to self-congratulatory American myth, was not a righteous crusade. It was a by-product of a brutal war of conquest and invasion—a total war against civilians in which black Southerners suffered as much if not more than whites. The devastation of the people’s resources in large areas of the South left African Americans as well as Southern whites suffering and sometimes starving. For many, it was an experience of fear, disruption of life, and cruel uncertainty about their future, to which the liberators had given no thought.
The material gathered by Paul C. Graham makes this clear. Of late, Americans have had a taste for history by theory: The War Between the States was “about” slavery. A better understanding comes from seeing what the people who were there have to say about it. Such an approach to history as human experience can be both informative and enlightening.
This book is the first in a series of of eye witness accounts detailing the invasion of the South during the waning days of the War to Prevent Southern Independence.
Understanding the War Between the States by 16 Southern Historians. Eds. Howard White and Clyde Wilson. Charlotte, NC: Society of Independent Southern Historians, 2015.
Understanding the War Between the States is a supplemental booklet by 16 writers that enables a more complete and truthful study of American history among young but diligent and inquisitive students in Middle School, teenage students in High School, young men and women in College and adults beyond those years. Consisting of 40 concise chapters, beginning with the Colonial era of North America, moving to the Revolution and the establishment of the United States of America, it proceeds into westward expansion to the Pacific Ocean. But at that point in American history the northern cultures and southern cultures clash in a horrific political sectional contest over how powerful should be the country's Federal Government. The consequence is political sectionalism in the Northern States, giving rise to the Republican Party and the election of Abraham Lincoln and Republican governors throughout the Northern states. Secession of 7 southern states takes place, President Lincoln contrives a pretext for launching a war of subjugation and conquest against the non-Republican southern States. After 4 years of horrific war, even "total war." the Federals prevail. A process of political reconstruction ensues, a process for the Federal Government to become all-powerful is launched and the limited government promised by the American Revolution is lost to memory. State Rights declines into a faint memory of days long ago, everywhere, North South and West. In only 88 pages, our Society has produced the most concise, complete and readable history that has ever been created for the purpose of imparting a truthful understanding of the War Between the States.