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Black Chaplains and the Civil War

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Abstract:

Out of the 2,398 chaplains who served in the Union Army during the Civil War, only fourteen were black. However, these fourteen represented a sizable portion of the small black officer corps during the Civil War. While previous studies have explored the service of black chaplains during the Civil War, no study has yet analyzed how the fourteen men who became chaplains reached what at that time was the pinnacle of public service for blacks. Congress mandated a series of requirements for the chaplaincy in 1861 and 1862, requiring chaplains to be members of a recognized religious organization which can attest to their good standing, as well as the recommendations of five other ministers from their denomination. This study finds that for those chaplains who left records of their pre-army life, black chaplains fulfilled these requirements in three main ways. The first was gaining ordination into a religious denomination that would give them professional mobility as well as support their application for the chaplaincy. The second was frequently the patronage of sympathetic whites. The third was a pattern of service to the Union, largely through assisting in the recruitment of black regiments following the Emancipation Proclamation. Whether the chaplains were originally from the North or South, what made most of this possible was time spent in the North. Experience in the North allowed a majority of these chaplains to obtain an education, gain ordination into a church denomination, and ultimately build the connections they would need to obtain a commission. This study will also examine how former chaplains translated their Civil War posts into positions of service in the post-war South, often continuing efforts for racial uplift they began before the Civil War.
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Association:
Name: 96th Annual Convention
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http://www.asalh.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p521599_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Usher, Zachary. "Black Chaplains and the Civil War" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 96th Annual Convention, TBA, Richmond, VA, <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p521599_index.html>

APA Citation:

Usher, Z. "Black Chaplains and the Civil War" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 96th Annual Convention, TBA, Richmond, VA <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p521599_index.html

Publication Type: Invited Paper
Abstract: Out of the 2,398 chaplains who served in the Union Army during the Civil War, only fourteen were black. However, these fourteen represented a sizable portion of the small black officer corps during the Civil War. While previous studies have explored the service of black chaplains during the Civil War, no study has yet analyzed how the fourteen men who became chaplains reached what at that time was the pinnacle of public service for blacks. Congress mandated a series of requirements for the chaplaincy in 1861 and 1862, requiring chaplains to be members of a recognized religious organization which can attest to their good standing, as well as the recommendations of five other ministers from their denomination. This study finds that for those chaplains who left records of their pre-army life, black chaplains fulfilled these requirements in three main ways. The first was gaining ordination into a religious denomination that would give them professional mobility as well as support their application for the chaplaincy. The second was frequently the patronage of sympathetic whites. The third was a pattern of service to the Union, largely through assisting in the recruitment of black regiments following the Emancipation Proclamation. Whether the chaplains were originally from the North or South, what made most of this possible was time spent in the North. Experience in the North allowed a majority of these chaplains to obtain an education, gain ordination into a church denomination, and ultimately build the connections they would need to obtain a commission. This study will also examine how former chaplains translated their Civil War posts into positions of service in the post-war South, often continuing efforts for racial uplift they began before the Civil War.


Similar Titles:
The Black Stranger: Chaplain Robert Boston Dokes, Black Soldiers, and the Practice of Black Masculinity in World War II

Black Religious Thoughts among Black Chaplains during the Civil War

The West Indian Image in the Black Mind: Images of Diversity in Black Print Culture after the Civil Rights Movement


 
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