AUC Studia Territorialia (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Studia Territorialia) is a peer-reviewed academic journal focusing on Area Studies. It covers political, economic, social, and cultural affairs of North America, Europe, and post-Soviet Eurasia in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The journal was founded in 2001; currently, it appears biannually, both electronically and in print. It publishes original scholarly articles, book reviews, conference reports and research notes. The journal is a publication of the Institute of International Studies at Charles University’s Faculty of Social Sciences.

AUC STUDIA TERRITORIALIA, Vol 20 No 2 (2020), 13–38

“The Glory of the Nation”: Black Soldier-Historians and the Continuing African American Struggle for a Usable Past

Robert Cook

announced: 15. 04. 2021


Heated controversies in the United States over the 1619 Project’s construction of a race-centered master narrative of American history highlight the need to locate public debates over this topic in historical context. This article analyzes the concerted efforts of two black Union veterans, George Washington Williams and Joseph T. Wilson, to remember African Americans’ wartime military service at a critical moment in the progress of Civil War memory. By the late 1880s the northern victors’ account of the southern slaveholders’ revolt against the US government was fading fast under the challenge of new, hegemonic narratives that deprived African Americans of significant agency in the “War of the Rebellion”. The article contends that, while the two pioneer soldier-historians were unable to sustain a national memory of black men’s military patriotism into the Jim Crow era, their innovative narrative strategies helped to lay the foundations of an effective black counter-memory of the Civil War period in the twentieth century.

keywords: American Civil War; African Americans; US Colored Troops; war memory; counter-memory

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148 x 210 mm
published: 2 x per year
print price: 180 czk
ISSN: 1213-4449
E-ISSN: 2336-3231