This book begins with the review of the Grand Army of the Republic, who passed down the broad avenues of Washington, D.C.—tens of thousands of veterans, black and white, marching together in commemoration of northern victory in the Civil War. One newspaper proclaimed, “The entire nation unites to celebrate the valor and patriotism of the brave soldiers who fought in defense of the Union.” A group of African American veterans was singled out for praise: “They marched as they fought, nobly.” The white and black spectators watching the parade recognized the “colored troops” with “hearty applause.” This was not a description of the Grand Review of the victorious northern army in 1865; black soldiers had not participated in that parade. Instead, in 1892, twenty-seven years after Appomattox, aging former soldiers who belonged to the Union army's largest veterans' organization, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), reenacted this review and welcomed African Americans into its ranks.
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