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With Diplomas of Patriotism: African American Civil War Veterans in Ohio

by Amy L. Crow. (Senior Thesis, The Ohio State University, 2009).

In the past two decades, historians have begun to focus attention on the story and struggle of the more than 186,000 African American men who served in the Civil War. While scholars have produced books such as Forged in Battle and Black Soldiers in Blue which have greatly advanced knowledge about the role of these men during the war, relatively little has been written about what happened to these men after they returned home.

There are several noteworthy books about the post-war experiences of Union soldiers. However, none of them delve deeply into the topic of African American veterans. A notable exception to this pattern of scholarship is Donald Shaffer's book After the Glory. In this book, Shaffer gives the results of his research into the post-war experience of black veterans. His groundbreaking research compares African American veterans to white veterans and, to a lesser extent, to the African American population as a whole.

The goal of "With Diplomas of Patriotism" is to see whether Shaffer's conclusion holds true in Ohio. Using Springfield as a case study, African American veterans were compared with white veterans and with African Americans who did not serve in the Civil War. The results were somewhat surprising.

Click here for the thesis in PDF format