Black history program set

Published 9:50 pm Monday, February 2, 2015

A program at Riddick’s Folly on Feb. 14 will examine the history of blacks and other minorities who served for the Confederacy during the Civil War.

The program, meant to recognize Black History Month, will have two different parts, said Robert Archer, who is program chairman for Riddick’s Folly and on the board of directors.

Archer said the subject of blacks in the Confederacy is one that many don’t like to discuss and often gets dismissed as false or urban legend.

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“It’s a true side of history,” he said. “Today, there’s so many false stories out that there were no blacks serving in the Confederacy, but they were forced to serve and many did volunteer.”

The program begins at 2 p.m. Teresa Roane “will present another side of history — people of color and other minorities in the Confederate military,” Archer said.

She will discuss military and support personnel, including some of her ancestors, who served in the Confederacy.

Roane has been an archivist for the Museum of the Confederacy and currently is an archivist for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, of which she’s a member.

“She has won national awards for her preservation work on documents and just promoting true history,” Archer said.

For the second part of the program, local Billie Earnest, also nationally recognized and awarded for her work in history, will talk about Rev. William Mack Lee in the gentleman’s library.

Lee, who was black and was a slave in the general’s household before the war, served as a cook and personal servant to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, according to his life story on Following the war, he completed divinity school and was ordained in Washington. He started numerous churches in Washington, Maryland and Virginia. Suffolk was among the towns from which donations came in to help him pay for building one of his churches. He is buried in Norfolk, Archer said.

Refreshments will be served after the program. There will be no admission charge, but reservations are required.

Call 934-0822 or email to reserve your spot. Riddick’s Folly is located at 510 N. Main St.