Dead Confederates, A Civil War Era Blog

Steve Perry and “Uncle Steve Eberhart”

Posted in African Americans, Memory by Andy Hall on November 11, 2011

Steve Perry, a.k.a. “Uncle Steve Eberhart,” c. 1934.

As many readers will know, African Americans were a fairly common sight at Confederate soldiers’ reunions in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, some view photographs from these reunions as evidence that the black men shown were considered full and equal soldiers by the white veterans. While there was undoubtedly plenty of reminiscing and genuine bonhomie between the white and black men at such events, a closer look at contemporary descriptions from the time reveals that there were crucial differences in the way each group was viewed and treated that subtly but firmly reinforced the long-established racial order in the South. Simply put, even after the passage of forty, fifty or sixty years, former slaves and body servants were still expected to keep their place and defer to the attitudes that prevailed in the Jim Crow South.

Warning: The following includes extensive historical quotes that use offensive language and themes.