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Show Thyself a ManGeorgia State Troops, Colored, 1865-1905$
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Gregory Mixon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780813062723

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813062723.001.0001

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“Any Person Capable of Doing Military Duty”

“Any Person Capable of Doing Military Duty”

The Georgia Volunteers, 1878–1890s

(p.126) 4 “Any Person Capable of Doing Military Duty”
Show Thyself a Man

Gregory Mixon

University Press of Florida

African Americans sought to establish that they were citizens of the United States, Georgia, and the county by proving their efficiency as militiamen with public displays of black freedom, citizenship, belonging, and progress. They were citizens who embraced freedom and citizenship because they belonged. They had earned the right as loyal citizens more so than former Confederates who questioned whether white Southerners were citizens of the United States or staunch advocates of states’ rights. Whites believed that the militia was an instrument of “the people” and therefore the militia belonged to the state not the federal government. Black militiamen celebrated the Fourth of July while whites in the South did not. African Americans therefore attempted to establish a set of militia traditions that they annually celebrated including Emancipation Day and the anniversaries of the Civil War Amendments. State Government sought to organize, manage, and create state sponsored militia companies while reducing the number of independent militia units.

Keywords:   Emancipation Day, states’ rights, militia

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