“Mixon’s examination of black militias in post-emancipation Georgia and their fight for citizenship and equality provides a powerful and compelling portrait of the social revolution process at the grassroots level.”–Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie, author of Freedom’s Seekers: Essays on Comparative Emancipation
“Tells the story of the rise and fall of black militia units in Georgia during the post-Civil War era and highlights how black militia service symbolized citizenship, political activism, social standing, and the hope for a bright future for African Americans throughout the United States.”–Marcus S. Cox, author of Segregated Soldiers: Military Training at Historically Black Colleges in the Jim Crow South
In Show Thyself a Man: Georgia State Troops, Colored, 1865–1905, Gregory Mixon explores the ways in which African Americans in postbellum Georgia used militia service after the Civil War to define freedom and citizenship. Independent militias empowered them to get involved in politics, secure their own financial independence, and mobilize for self-defense.
As whites and blacks competed for state sponsorship of their militia companies, African Americans sought to establish their roles as citizens of their country and their state. They proved their efficiency as militiamen and publicly commemorated black freedom and progress with celebrations such as Emancipation Day and the anniversaries of the Civil War Amendments.
White Georgians, however, used the militia as a different symbol of freedom–to ensure not only the postwar white right to rule but to assert states’ rights. This social, political, and military history examines how black militias were integral to the process of liberation, Reconstruction, and nation-building that defined the latter half of the nineteenth century South.
Gregory Mixon, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, is the author of The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City.
A volume in the series Southern Dissent, edited by Stanley Harrold and Randall M. Miller