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The Won CauseBlack and White Comradeship in the Grand Army of the Republic$
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Barbara A. Gannon

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780807834527

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807877708_gannon

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Memorial Day in Black and White

Memorial Day in Black and White

(p.72) 6 Memorial Day in Black and White
The Won Cause

Barbara A. Gannon

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter shows how differently the Memorial Day of today is celebrated from the way that the GAR observed it. On the last Monday in May, the dead of all American wars are honored with long weekend getaways that signal the beginning of summer. In contrast, by order of General Logan, the commander in chief of the GAR, a specific day each year, May 30, was set aside to honor the Union army's war dead. General Logan explicitly cited emancipation as a reason for this commemoration. Northern “soldiers' lives,” he explained, “were the reveille of freedom to a race in chains.” The black GAR post and its associates enthusiastically participated in Memorial Day activities, such as church services, graveside ceremonies, and parades. Segregated observances allowed the African American GAR circle, particularly women, to shape the message of Memorial Day.

Keywords:   Memorial Day, GAR, General Logan, Union army, emancipation, freedom, African American GAR

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