Chapter 40 – Thanks to Our Authors and Our Encouragement to Student Readers.
By Howard Ray White of N. C., co-editor, S.I.S.H.
As co-founders of The Society of Independent Southern Historians and co-editors of Understanding the War Between the States, Dr. Clyde N. Wilson and I have volunteered our time in support of the Society and in creating this booklet to deliver truthful knowledge to inquisitive Americans, especially students, who thirst for real understanding of our country’s history and what it means to people living in today’s world. We are both retired grandfathers, eager to share our life’s experiences with the youth of today. Please use our Society’s offering to your advantage, for knowledge is power.
I first must express my appreciation to Dr. Wilson for his vast knowledge of our subject and his expert guidance. Without that guidance – often gentle, sometimes firm – not even one page would have been produced. When he offered stern advice, normally beginning with “My friend,” I bent, but did not break; I became stronger through the experience. I know no one who is more respected, more informed and more dedicated to unraveling with truth our often-distorted history.
Yet, the help of others was essential to the success of this project. And it is toward them that most of the words on this page are dedicated. To Karen Stokes of South Carolina much is owed. She quickly wrote for us two moving chapters that tell so much: one on the War Against Civilians, the other on Prisoners of War. Drawing on decades of research and historical knowledge, Joseph Stromberg and William Cawthon wrote two important and revealing chapters. I speak of Stromberg’s presentation of the Cost of the War in Financial Terms and Cawthon’s diligent research and presentation of the Cost of the War in Lives Lost and Families Shattered.
Egon Richard Tausch, writing from his home in Texas and drawing from a life-time of study and publication experience, has contributed two fine chapters. I speak of his chapter starting with the Mexican War and ending with the Compromise of 1850, plus his very important chapter on Political Reconstruction.
We are blessed to have African American writers telling important history. Heart-felt is the chapter by Earl L. Ijames of North Carolina concerning those African American men who supported the Confederates and those who supported the Federals. Also heart-felt is the “What If” chapter by Barbara Marthal of Tennessee, which ponders the consequence of possible gradual emancipation, had that been history’s path.
The Society is fortunate to have additional writers who hail from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Two chapters by Steve Litteral of Illinois provide examples. Note his chapter on analysis of the “Two Armies” and the “Cost of the War in the Northern States.” Another example is the writing of Paul C. Graham of South Carolina, who addresses “Recapping the Big Puzzle.” Gail Jarvis of Georgia takes on “Political Reconstruction.” Also valuable to the project were the contributions of writers Joyce Bennett of Maryland, Patrick Kealey of California and Leslie R. Tucker of Oklahoma.
We concluded our booklet with a wrap-up chapter by H. V. Traywick of Virginia. Mr. Traywick demonstrates that a fine student of history and writer on the subject need not always be a career university professor of history to understand his subject and tell about it in a clear and truthful manner.
Others contributed to our thinking on this project and offered appreciated support. Among these is Dr. Bob Butterworth of TN, Rebecca Calcutt of SC, Roger Busbice of LA, Gene Kizer of SC, Loy Mauch of AR and Dr. W. Kirk Wood of SC.
You are at the age where teenagers face peer pressure to conform, to be liked, to fit in. Will you become “other-directed” and bend to those pressures or will you be “self-directed” and grow into the person you wish to become. There is no human, anywhere on earth who it exactly like you: you are unique. So thirst for understanding, question what you hear and see, and choose wisely. Do not be a slave, a captive bound by perceived obligations to fit in. Choose freedom. Adopt the following philosophy going forward:
In all of your studies
On your journey through life
In closing our booklet, Understanding the War Between the States, Society historians and authors assure you that we are:
And Public School remains the mainstay of American education. The late John Andrew White – Tennessean, grandson of a Confederate soldier, educator, poet, pubic school superintendent, and my grandfather – encouraged Public Schools in the 1920’s with this poetry, viewing the institution as our “Pillar of Progress;” the “Light of our People;” our “Mother of Justice,” and the “Mainstay of our Nation.” These are worthy goals every public school should strive to meet. With this tribute to America’s public schools we bid you farewell, adiós and adieu.