The GAR in the South
This chapter describes how the status of black veterans in the Tennessee GAR would surprise scholars who have studied the GAR in the South. Scholars who have documented race-based controversies in the southern GAR, including some involving debate over a southern organization excluding black veterans, have deemed them as indicative of the GAR's, at best, ambiguous relationship with black veterans or, at worst, its acceptance of segregation in its organization. In contrast, this chapter contends that the fact that excluding black veterans was considered controversial reflected most white veterans' commitment to maintaining an interracial organization. In virtually all nineteenth-century organizations, the participation of black Americans was not a subject of debate simply because they were barred from membership in white organizations.
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