Blacks Were First To Celebrate Memorial Day, Scholar Says

A fact that you should probably know is that African Americans are the reason that Memorial Day even exists in the first place.  According to Professor David Blight of Yale University, the event began on May 1, 1865.  A group of former slaves in Charleston, SC gave a proper burial to 257 Union soldiers who’d been put into a mass grave.

The black community of Charleston then consecrated the new cemetary with “an unforgettable parade of 10,000 people.”  The event was initially called “Decoration Day” and was led by 3,000 black school children who started off by singing the song “John Brown’s Body.”  They were then followed by hundreds of black women with baskets of flowers and crosses.  After that, black men marched behind them in cadence, followed by Union infantry.

The Union soldiers lived in horrible conditions, and 257 of them died from exposure and disease.   This was the reason for the creation of the mass grave site.  A total of 28 black men went to the site an re-buried the men properly, largely as a thank you for helping fight for their freedom.

They also built a fence around the cemetary, and on the outside, put the words, “Martyrs of the Race Course.”

Now you know the story.  Go tell this one to everyone you know.

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