History brought to life at annual Black and Blue event
Published 12:02 am Sunday, October 26, 2014
NATCHEZ — Hidden history was brought to life Saturday during the seventh annual Black and Blue Civil War living history program at Historic Jefferson College.
This year’s event featured the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry, in which re-enactors portrayed significant roles to tell the lost story of the first Mississippi Cavalry of African descent.
The third U.S. Colored Cavalry was organized in Vicksburg in October 1863.
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The Union Cavalry, which was composed of ex-saves, fought in nearly every battle in Mississippi.
“It was beyond expectation,” said organizer Ser Seshs Ab Heter-C.M. Boxley.
Military history researcher Nana Bennie McRae Jr. presented a lecture at the start of the program, discussing the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry.
“People need to know the history,” McRae said. “They need to know that they probably had ancestors that served in Mississippi.”
McRae said his lecture was meant to push those in attendance to dig deeper into their history.
“The history needs to be known,” McRae said. “It’s been one-sided for some years.”
Natchez resident David Dreyer was among the many volunteers who participated in the role-playing event.
Dreyer portrayed General William Rosecrans, who organized local ex-slaves Pioneer Corps.
“I’ve been involved for seven years now, and each year it gets better,” Dreyer said.
Organizer Darrell White said the focus of the event was to provide the community valued information.
“We want everyone to know the contributions that were made by people of African origin and descent to the history of this community, the history of this state and the history of this country,” White said.
White related the importance of the event to an African proverb, which reads: “Many times, the story of the hunt is told by the hunter.”
“This was an opportunity for the lion to speak,” White said.
White said preparation for the event takes months of planning, but is necessary to make the event as historical as possible with the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry.
“They were instrumental in the union’s successful efforts in this region,” White said. “The Cavalry was the most sought after unit, as they saw more battle than any other cavalry unit in the Civil War.
Above all, they were black, White said.
The event featured the Third U.S. Colored Cavalry re-enactors, as they paraded through Main Street on horse back, and Historic Jefferson College.