The origin of Memorial Day it’s not what you think

Thanks to MoveOn for relaying this tidbit of history to us.

From their Facebook page –

KNOW YOUR HISTORY: Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

Thanks to Abstrakt Goldsmith for this nugget of history that most of us never learned in school.

2 thoughts on “The origin of Memorial Day it’s not what you think

  1. Oops…you forgot to read the article:

    “In his book “Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory,” Professor Blight describes a mostly forgotten — or possibly suppressed — event in Charleston, S.C., in 1865 at a racetrack turned war prison. Black workmen properly reburied the Union dead that were found there, and on May 1, a cemetery dedication was held, attended by thousands of freed blacks who marched in procession around the track.

    He has called that the first Memorial Day, as it predated most of the other contenders, though he said he has no evidence that it led to General Logan’s call for a national holiday.

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