Chaplain Garland H. White

Influencing Lincoln asset

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Here’s more of the story. Hello, I am Kisha Tandy, Curator of Social History at the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites. I will be discussing Chaplain Garland H. White. Chaplain Garland H. White, who learned about the levers of power in Washington, DC, while enslaved to Senator Robert Toombs of Georgia, preached at AME churches in Canada and the United States before moving to Indiana. He was heavily involved in recruiting Black soldiers for the 54th and 55th Massachusetts and the 28th Indiana USCT. After enlisting in Company D of the 28th, he successfully petitioned to become its chaplain. He was one of only 14 Black chaplains with official commissions. His regular and powerful letters to the AME Church’s Christian Recorder, give us tremendous detail about the experiences of the 28th USCT and their connection to the larger fight for emancipation and citizenship. His unexpected reunion with his mother, Nancy, after the fall of Richmond in 1865 brings home the personal stakes so many had in the war. “I have just returned from the city of Richmond; my regiment was among the first that entered that city…A vast multitude assembled on Broad Street, and I was aroused amid the shouts of ten thousand voices, and proclaimed for the first time in that city freedom to all mankind. Among the densely crowded concourse there were parents looking for children who had been sold south… Among the many broken-hearted mothers was an aged woman, passing through the vast crowd of colored…After responding to various questions, Garland White was told…”This is your mother, Garland, whom you are now talking to, who has spent twenty years of grief about her son.” I cannot express the joy I felt at this happy meeting of my mother and other friends. But suffice it to say that God is on the side of the righteous and will in due time reward them.

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