Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Monday, December 28, 2015

Place Names

I like it when people from a place are called something unexpected.  People from Glasgow are Glaswegians.  People from Liverpool are Liverpudlians.  I find it charming.

Between Lincoln and Truman, the Abyss

A little historical note.  Here is the scene as the Union troops captured Richmond:

Conolly [an Anglo-Irish Member of Parliament visiting the confederacy] returned to his hotel at sunrise, shoving aside anyone who attempted to get in his way. Hundreds of fires were still burning. He had almost reached the building when he heard a cry: "the Yankees, the Yankees." The city's bleary-eyed residents were astonished to see a combination of white and Negro regiments from the Union Army of the James—Butler's old army—riding through the streets. Many were singing "John Brown's Body" as they marched.
Now I emphasize, these regiments were not actually integrated, except in the sense that white officers could serve in black units.  Nevertheless, they marched into the city at the same time, and it must have been quite a revelation for the locals:

Abraham Lincoln arrived at the city a few hours after Charles Francis Jr. [the white leader of a black cavalry unit], on the morning of the fourth. The black population was anything but "whipped out." They clustered about him, shouting ecstatically, touching his clothes, shaking his hand; he protested when some knelt down as he passed.
These excerpts are from A World on Fire:  Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War, by Amanda Foreman.

Now fast forward to the liberation of Paris by the Allies.  Via Wikipedia, here is a BBC article on the racial dynamic at play:

The leader of the Free French forces, Charles de Gaulle, made it clear that he wanted his Frenchmen to lead the liberation of Paris.
Allied High Command agreed, but only on one condition: De Gaulle's division must not contain any black soldiers.
. . . .
At the time America segregated its own troops along racial lines and did not allow black GIs to fight alongside their white comrades until the late stages of the war.
The disparity between those two scenes, separated by about 80 years, is a pretty brutal indictment of the United States and its gutless, immoral policies in the aftermath of the Civil War.