Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Associate of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Kenzer

Second Advisor

Dr. Carol Summers


On June 22, 1877, William Charity explained his neighborhood’s Civil War loyalties to special commissioner Isaac Baldwin of the Southern Claims Commission (SCC): “The colored people were mostly all for the union.” Charity, a free black Virginian, recognized that “mostly” did not mean all. He went on to suggest: “some of them were blind.” As a self-identified Unionist, Charity had difficulty envisioning a black man who was not loyal to the Union cause and emancipation during the Civil War. Current debates, however, have seized on those black Virginians Charity called “blind,” taking the “mostly” Unionist majority for granted. Like Charity, these black Virginians were loyal to the Union and emancipation, actively resisting the Confederacy and supporting the Union cause.