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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Black History Part 3: Andre' Cailloux and the Black Regiment

"Now", the flag sergeant cried,

"Through death and hell betide,

Let the whole nation see

If we are fit to be

Free in this land; or Ground

Down, Like the whining hound-

Bound with red stripes of pain

In our old chains again!"

Oh! What a shout there went

From the black regiment!

From "The Black Regiment" by George Henry Boker

In this 3rd part of my posts on Black History, I would like to tell of Capt. Andre' Cailloux and the Native Guards of La.
They were the first black regiment that was mustered in by the Union Army during the Civil War.
I am interested in these guys because of the connection that I have with them in history. My family fought at the siege of Port Hudson, La. during the war and one did not return. They were in the 1st Al. Vol. Reg. Inf.
They were with the troops from Arkansas had these men as their worthy foe.
The native guards charged the hill that the Alabamians and those from Arkansas held.
So great was their bravery that the confederates risked their lives to carry water to the wounded blacks on the fields. News of the attack and their bravery filled the northern papers. Making way for other blacks to be enlisted. Swelling the ranks of the Union.
But unknowing to the north, the south also took notice and many petitioned the Confederate congress to enlist slaves. Capt. W. C. Oates told congress that if his troops thought they were fighting to keep blacks enslaved, they would pack and go home. The south did start enlisting blacks but it was to late in the war.
Their actions also showed whites that blacks were not under-evolved humans and not more monkey than man.
That they could do what white man could do.
Too bad this lession was not remembered in later years during World War 1 and 2.

Andre' Cailloux was the Captain, who received his civil and military education in Paris, that lead the attack of the Native Guards. He advanced with his arm shattered from a shot and when he advanced forward a cannon shattered the rest of him. His bravery made history in making him the first Black officer killed in American History.

Links of interest:

Andre' Cailloux at Wikipedia

Article Commemorating Andre' Cailloux's Death at Port Hudson

The Black Regiment by George Henry Boker

Port Hudson

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Maria Fearing: Womens History Month

Last month I forgot to do my "Black History" post. Sorry, I got side tracked. New job and stuff.
So here it is March, womens History Month. I will now cover both months with my post on "Maria Fearing" that I did last year.

My favorite black person in history is the extraordinary lady Maria Fearing. Born a slave in Alabama she paid her way to be educated. Became a teacher for grade school and college students. Earned and bought her own house. Then catching the burden for the lost in Africa she sold the house and paid her own way to become a missionary to Africa at Fifty-six years of age. She made her way to Luebo, 1,200 miles from the coast of Africa.
Within a year she learned the language and founded Pantops School for homeless girls. Most of her students were orphans kidnapped by warriors from other tribes that she bought back.
Impressed with her work, the Southern Presbyterian Church made her a full-time missionary. She did not return to America until she became ill at eighty years old. She lived nearly a century. I read about her in my old Alabama history book.
Dated 1980 published by Viewpoint Publications in Montgomery, Al.