Dr. Luebke on the ‘lessening’ of Union soldier racism towards blacks as the war went on.

18d9ba8195478e8ab7d0cf7f83961d33                   Dr. Luebke creates a very well designed argument to the popular belief of other historians that, during the civil war Union soldiers became less racist as they encountered black people in the south. On the contrary to this belief, As Dr. Luebke points out, “The Civil War deepened antebellum racism rather than mitigating or ameliorating it” (Luebke 510). Much of this heightened racism was due to the emergence of minstrel shows in Union camps similar to those found back home in such areas as New Haven and Boston (510).  The minstrel shows featured white men wearing ‘blackface’ (a composition of burnt cork and greasepaint) that included “what they considered comic songs, laughable dialogues, ribald jokes and slapstick humor” (510). As the war went on these shows evolved “as soldiers turned from enacting minstrel shows themselves to forcing blacks to perform for them” (519). To Union soldiers the “African Americans and their culture existed largely to provide comic entertainment for whites” (525). This ideal eventually progressed in a way that also provided for the perpetration of violence upon blacks without consequence (521). In conclusion, Dr. Luebke maintains that Union racism did not subside nor lessen during the war and throughout Union occupation of the confederate states but was rather amplified through these minstrel shows, which in turn allowed for the spread of violence upon black people throughout the country.


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