The Hillsborough Country Confederate Veterans Memorial Park hosted a memorial service led by the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). The group unveiled a commemorative plaque to honor black confederate soldiers. The commander of the local Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter is David McCallister, who said, “We have recognized the fact that many people made up the confederacy, all fighting for and under the battle flag”.
The keynote speaker for the dedication was H.K. Edgerton. He had previously served as one of the former NAACP branch presidents and was a strong advocate of Southern civil rights. Edgerton is embarking on a trip throughout the state to highlight the important role black soldiers played in the Confederate Army. This event kicked off his “Southern Cross Revival March”. He believes that way too many people are unaware of the great honor and dignity earned in the southern part of the United States.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans support Edgerton’s sentiments about the Confederate flag as well. They are both fighting to maintain that flag on display. Their argument states that the Confederate flag symbolizes honor for those who fought under it, rather than a symbol promoting racism. McCallister said, “A flag in itself cannot be racist, or non-racist in itself.” He truly believes that a flag symbolizes whatever the people who fly it want it to mean. In this case, he argues that they intend and want the flag to honor the men who fought to defend the state of Florida and the South when they were called upon to do so.
The Hillsborough County Confederate Veterans Memorial Park is also home to additional commemorative plaques that honor Native American, Hispanic, and Jewish soldiers who fought for the South in the American Civil War.
It was never an official policy that African-American’s served with the Confederate Army. However, unknown thousands, both slaves and free, fought with the Confederacy and they saw action in all the major battles of the war, including Gettysburg. One observer believed that some 3000 black soldiers were attached to the army group led by Stone Wall Jackson.
The numbers of black soldiers who served with the South may never be known. Many thousands, more African-Americans served in supporting roles such as porters or muleteers. It has often been argued that many of the African-Americans who served in the Confederate States Army, were pressed into service. A large number of African-American soldiers also served in the Northern army.