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Posted by Tom on June 10, 1999 at 08:40:57:

In Reply to: Re: posted by Champ on June 10, 1999 at 03:46:22:

Yes, I have heard all these stories about the wonderful racial diversity of the Confederate army. Excuse me if I believe that these stories are much ado about nothing. An attempt by Southern apologists to excuse the Confederacy for fighting for slavery. The Union army had a 180,000 African Americans under arms by the end of the war. Most of these men were Southern blacks who knew well enough which side was fighting for their purpose. In comparison were a paltry few thousand black Confederates and that pretty much makes a mockery of comparing opportunies for blacks in the two armies. No, I do not believe that Union army's ranks were stocked with abolitionists. Few Northerners had any particular love for black people; but most came to recognize a curse on the land and their own futures when they saw one.

As for the possibility for an African American historian to see some comparisons between the ANV and the Waffen SS. Well, it is very well documented that Lee's army on its march up North in the summer of 1863 were seizing free African Americans, shackling them togther and selling them into slavery down South. (Lee Considered by Alan Nolan is one source that mentions this black mark on ANV's record) I wonder how this "black" soldier in Stonewall Jim's brigade felt about these actions? Also lets not forget the actions of Confederate forces in the Crater in 1864 where they murdered black soldiers trying to surrender. Now a white Southern might choose to dismiss these ugly episodes as "pc revivisionism" or jump to point out similar atrocities committed by Union forces. Yet I can see how an African American historian, a descendent of slaves, could see comparisons between the ANV and another superb fighting force with a black record.

"Revolution"- is bad history. "We wuz bringin our furs down da rivah. Nu Yawk wuz goin wild." I think that pretty much sums up this silly film. How about those fag British officers? The "hunt" with Al Pacino as the fox. The ridiculous Yorktown scenes with those Indians and cliffs. The story of two star crossed lovers over the turmoil of war which is the subject of this dark and depressing movie not the Revolution. Everyone mumbling away so you can't understand a word. And the Vietnam like ending with the cheated vets!

Historical researchers and consultants guarantee a movie that stays true to the historical facts? When? Where? I seem to recall I have thrown a challenge out to anyone who can show me a movie that stayed true to the historical facts without fictional characters, storylines or fudging characters or facts. I say there is no such animal because movies are made to entertain and not inform. Movies are not obligated to list a bibliography or contain extensive notes in their credits. What kind of consultants? It brings back my point from yesterday- what if Prof. Allen Ballard, the black historian I mentioned, was the historical consultant on "Gettysburg" and not famed reenactor Brian Pohanka. I believe "Gettysburg" would definetly have been a different movie yet would it have been more historically inaccurate?

I think the best answer I have ever heard on the subject of movies as history was given by Tom Hanks last year when he was discussing "Saving Private Ryan" for the History Channel. Hanks was asked on whether SPR was history or Hollywood? Hanks responded that it was Hollywood since it is impossible to honestly fit true history into a conventional three act storyline. Yet Hanks went onto say that there is a scale in which films can be judged by their truthfulness to the historical record with some films scoring high, others in the middle, and others at the low end. Hanks felt SPR scored pretty high on that scale; but overall it is still Hollywood.

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