I'm posting this with the permission of the original author of the message on the Wake County, North Carolina Mailing List:
Ask a historian to list the reasons why the Union won the Civil War and the
answers will likely include economics, industrial might and overwhelming
It's that last reason that irks Kent McCoury the most. It's not that the
Apex resident disagrees with the obvious fact that the North held a
numerical advantage in troops.
No, what bothers the longtime historian is that so few Civil War experts
seem willing to give black soldiers credit for helping the North maintain
its vital manpower superiority. McCoury will discuss this topic in a talk
entitled "African American Soldiers in the Civil War" on Monday, Feb. 21 at
7 p.m. at the Eva Perry Library in Apex.
Thanks to Hope for sharing the following:
"One of the main reasons the North won the war was because of manpower,"
said McCoury. "The Union was able to utilize 180,000 African-American
soldiers and they played a vital role in the outcome.
"Their contributions to the war are totally overlooked in my opinion. It is
a very understudied part of the war and their stories are not well known by
McCoury, who spoke at the library about the Civil War in 2010, was excited
when he was asked to return this year. He felt discussing the role played by
African-Americans in the military was appropriate for both Black History
Month and the beginning of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War.
"In this day in age, we try to make heroes out of everybody," said McCoury.
"We overuse the word hero all the time. Yet, you have so many
African-American soldiers who were real heroes and nobody talks about them.
"They went out and proved they could fight just as well as white soldiers.
Nobody sings their praises and I want to do that."
McCoury will also discuss the numerous flaws in the movie "Glory." The 1989
film tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of
the first all-black regiments of the war.
"When Hollywood and history cross paths, history usually comes out on the
short end," said McCoury.
"The real stories about the people in that regiment are so much more
interesting than the movie.
"The biggest flaw is that movie portrays the soldiers as mostly escaped
slaves. That's inaccurate. The regiment was made up of many highly educated
African-Americans from the North."
McCoury graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in
history. He has worked for the NC Department of Cultural Resources for
nearly 20 years and has served for more than a decade as the assistant site
manager at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham. He had also taught
at NC State University and has written book reviews for The North Carolina
There is no charge for McCoury's presentation but registration is required
Read more: Apex Herald - Civil War comes to the library