Happy Confederate Memorial Day: South Carolina’s Celebration of Whiter Man’s Burden


Confederate pickets  accidentally shot their own  General Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson at the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863. The general survived but lost an arm to amputation; he died of complications from pneumonia eight days later on May 10.

“the black man’s friend”

On This Day South Carolina Celebrates the Death of Stonewall Jackson.

Jackson neither apologized for nor spoke in favor of the practice of slavery. He probably opposed the institution. Yet in his mind the Creator had sanctioned slavery, and man had no moral right to challenge its existence. The good Christian slaveholder was one who treated his servants fairly and humanely at all times. James Robertson 

Jackson’s family owned six slaves in the late 1850s. Southern historians to this day claim that Jackson was revered by African Americans in the before the civil war.  He is given credit for organization of Sunday School classes for blacks at the Presbyterian Church. His and his wife, Mary Anna Jackson, taught in the school, saying that  “he preferred that my labors should be given to the colored children, believing that it was more important and useful to put the strong hand of the Gospel under the ignorant African race, to lift them up.”

Jackson’s pastor, Dr. William Spottswood White, described the relationship between Jackson and his black students: “In their religious instruction he succeeded wonderfully. His discipline was systematic and firm, but very kind. … His servants reverenced and loved him, as they would have done a brother or father. … He was emphatically the black man’s friend.” He addressed his students by name and they, in turn, referred to him affectionately as “Marse Major”.

Three of the Jackson slaves (Hetty, Cyrus, and George, a mother and two teenage sons) were received as a wedding present. Another, Albert, requested that Jackson purchase him and allow him to work for his freedom; he was employed as a waiter in one of the Lexington hotels and Jackson rented him to VMI. Amy also requested that Jackson purchase her from a public slave auction and she served the family as a cook and housekeeper. The sixth, Emma, was a four-year-old orphan with a learning disability, accepted by Jackson from an aged widow and presented to his second wife, Mary Anna, as a welcome-home gift. 

Mary Anna Jackson, Jackson’s widows,” in her 1895 memoir, said, “our servants … without the firm guidance and restraint of their master, the excitement of the times proved so demoralizing to them that he deemed it best for me to provide them with good homes among the permanent residents.”

from Wikipedia




Jackson in death became an icon of Southern heroism and commitment, and became a mainstay in the pantheon of the “Lost Cause


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