Redefining citizenship and manhood: Black Civil War Soldiers and Pensions

5:00pm - 6:00pm / Thursday 10th March 2016 / Venue: The event will take place in Room 11, Rendall Building. Rendall Building
Type: Seminar / Category: Research / Series: Centre for the Study of International Slavery
  • 0151 794 2653
  • Suitable for: Anyone who is interested in this topic, including members of the public, staff and students.
  • Admission: Admission is free.
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The seminar will be presented by Holly Pinheiro (University of Iowa) who talks about her work below.

'This presentation focuses on how black men from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who fought in the Civil War served in the US Colored Troops attempted to redefine nineteenth-century ideologies of citizenship, during and immediately following, the American Civil War. It based on a larger study that examines how Northern black men and women from Philadelphia and New York City used military service during the Civil War to redefine 19th-century social constructions of race, gender, and citizenship. I am limiting the scope of this presentation to three men who were born and enlisted in a Philadelphian black regiment. Furthermore, each soldier was married and had one child before enlist, and some of their family members successfully received a Civil War pension either during or immediately following the war. I am focusing on the military service of Charles Deets, and Benjamin Davis, of the Sixth US Colored Infantry (USCI); and, Jacob S. Jackson, of the Eighth USCI, and the immediate postwar lives for their families.

I will show how a select group black Philadelphian men, who were not citizens, performed the citizenship responsibility of military service in the Union Army, and through their service, made it possible for the families to apply and potentially receive a pension, which was a privilege of citizenship. Military service during the nineteenth century had a measurable and profound impact on the racial parameters of idealized manhood and citizenship. The military service of black men came five years before the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment, which awarded citizenship rights to African Americans. Thus, black men performed citizenship responsibilities well-before their citizenship was recognized by the federal government—and, indeed, was explicitly denied by the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the Dread Scott versus Sanford case.'

My biography:

'I graduated from the University of Central Florida (Orlando, FL) in 2008. My undergraduate thesis was titled, ““The Bloody Days of May: The 1866 Memphis Race Riots.” I was accepted to the University of Iowa (Iowa City, IA) on the Dean’s Fellowship. I received my Masters degrees in 2010. My Master’s thesis was titled, ““Opportunity out of Apprehension: New York’s Black Regiments during the Civil War.” I defended my dissertation prospectus in 2014. My dissertation is titled, “Men of Color To Arms!: Race, Gender, and Citizenship during the Civil War era.”

My primary research interest focuses on how Northern black men and women attempted to used Civil War military participation to redefine nineteenth-century conceptions of race, gender, and citizenship. I primarily focus on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and New York City, New York. I also have a minor in Modern British Sporting Culture, with an emphasis on hooligan violence (1950-1980). I am primarily interested in how hooligan violence was not simple acts of barbarism, but instead showed how some fans chose to violently express and define their ideas of race, citizenship, class, and gender.'