Response Paper 3

Submitted By furst568
Words: 419
Pages: 2

Response to Jospeh Reidy’s “Black Men in Navy Blue During the Civil War” The American Civil War era is well known to be the catalyst for major changes in the country. It resulted in the union of the previously opposing Northern and Southern states, the solidification of the importance of the armed forces, and the abolishment of slavery as a legalized institution. Reidy’s article places its focus on the last, and what is considered to be one of the most important, results of the Civil War. He makes the argument that change was not a sudden shift that occurred when Abraham Lincoln declared the Emancipation Proclamation, and that the case of the United States Navy was one that deserved to be more closely investigated. When a typical American is asked about the status of black military men on the side of the Union, the typical response tends to be that the group was generally a small minority, used for the lowest jobs, and were generally slaves that escaped from the Confederate states in a bid for freedom. While these ideas are based on reality, Reidy shows that the role and presence of black men in various Naval units differed from the Military units in dramatic ways. Firstly, the Navy was racially integrated, combining men of all different races upon single boats. Regarding the issue of the proportion of black men to white men, Reidy turns up some interesting facts. He finds that by the end of the war in 1864, a good twenty percent of the Navy was made up of black men, in