The Won Cause: Black and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic
In the years after the Civil War, black and white Union soldiers who survived the horrific struggle joined the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR)--the Union army's largest veterans' organization. In this thoroughly researched and groundbreaking study, Barbara Gannon chronicles black and white veterans' efforts to create and sustain the nation's first interracial organization.
According to the conventional view, the freedoms and interests of African American veterans were not defended by white Union veterans after the war, despite the shared tradition of sacrifice among both black and white soldiers. In The Won Cause, however, Gannon challenges this scholarship, arguing that although black veterans still suffered under the contemporary racial mores, the GAR honored its black members in many instances and ascribed them a greater equality than previous studies have shown. Using evidence of integrated posts and veterans' thoughts on their comradeship and the cause, Gannon reveals that white veterans embraced black veterans because their membership in the GAR demonstrated that their wartime suffering created a transcendent bond--comradeship--that overcame even the most pernicious social barrier--race-based separation. By upholding a more inclusive memory of a war fought for liberty as well as union, the GAR's "Won Cause" challenged the Lost Cause version of Civil War memory.
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Afri African Ameri African American posts African American soldiers African American veterans all-black post Ameri argued battle black Americans black and white black members black posts black regiments black soldiers black veterans City Civil War Memory Cleveland Gazette commemorations comradeship Confederate Connecticut Crocker Post death described emancipation explained flag former Fort Wagner fought freedom GAR’s Gettysburg honor Illinois included Indiana integrated posts interracial Iowa Jersey Kansas Kentucky Lincoln Lost Cause marched Maryland Massachusetts membership Memorial Day national encampment Negro newspaper northern official Ohio organization parade Pennsylvania pensions Port Hudson post members post’s race racial records reported Republic reunion Robert Gould Shaw Robert Pinn segregation served Shaw Post slavery slaves South southern struggle suffering Sumner Taylor Post Tennessee tion Twenty-fifth Union Union army units USCT wartime Washington Welch Post white Americans white posts white veterans Woman’s Relief Corps women Won Cause wounded York Age York Freeman