Oh! stand the storm, it won’t be long

African-American-Civil-War-Memorial-statue-front

The African American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C. for more information on the Memorial and Museum: http://www.afroamcivilwar.org

Oh! stand the storm, it won’t be long

We’ll anchor by and by

Stand the storm, it won’t be long

We’ll anchor by and by

———traditional spiritual

I chose to set my second novel, “Stand The Storm”  at mid-nineteenth century in Washington, D.C. because there is an appetite for perspectives and narratives of the Civil War and I was curious about home life in my home town during the conflict. Once again and as always, the narrative of North vs. South, slavery vs. freedom and the lingering symbols of the conflict such as the Confederate Battle Flag and the rise of the KKK are in the news with the Church Massacre in Charleston, S.C. on July 17th.

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And what of the so-called contrabands — those slaves following the Union soldiers into town?  Every artery in and out of town was choked with them.

Destitute was how most of them arrived — trudging, slogging, and dragging. Descriptions in the papers of slaves fleeing at the advance of the Union army sounded like an account of dandies on parade. They were said to be preening themselves and promenading down the thoroughfares of Washington decked out in frothy skirts, scarlet frock coats and gray hats festooned with feathers.

But the true picture was something else. The women trudged with their arms tugging at stumbling children, and children taller than a hickory stump were carrying babes on their backs. A common sight was a man who had made himself into a mule by putting a strap on his forehead so that he could carry his old grandpa or grandmam on his back. Step upon step he would lug the old one, who was yet mere bones sparsely covered with skin. If they had worn a fine coat when they left, it had been stripped away long before reaching the banks of the Potomac or the Eastern Branch. Even if they came from nearby, they had likely crisscrossed these places again and again — hiding and running from hostile irregulars. Most that Annie saw arrive were barely clothed and long time away from their vittles.

excerpt of “Stand The Storm” by Breena Clarke
“The National Archives, in cooperation with FamilySearch International, a subsidiary of the  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Smithsonian Institution, is releasing 1.5 million digitized images that contain the names of up to 4 million former slaves collected by agents of the Freedman’s Bureau at the end of the Civil War.” – Hamil R. Harris in Wash. Post

Freedmen’s Bureau Records of 4 million former slaves released today. read more: http://wapo.st/1BEF4oA

The Freedmen’s Bureau, headed by Union Army General, Oliver O. Howard https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oliver_O._Howard  started operations in 1865. Throughout the first year, its representatives learned that their task would be very difficult, as conservative Southerners passed laws or Black Codes that restricted movement, the conditions of paid labor, and other civil rights of recently emancipated African Americans, nearly duplicating the conditions of slavery. (Wikipedia) Rallying under the banner of the Confederate Battle Flag, the KuKluxKlan formed and proliferated across the South to intimidate the Freedmen.

Learn more about African Americans in Civil War Washington, D.C. Read “Stand The Storm” link for more information, excerpts and links to purchase a copy at: http://bit.ly/BuyBreenaClarkeBooks

Breena Clarke reads from “Stand The Storm”: http://bit.ly/1OLoTeM

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