The First Memorial Day; Celebrated by African Americans to Honor the Dead/ Video of Yale University Professor David Blight Lecture

As they say, you learn something new everyday. Well as you continue to indulge in your Memorial Day Weekend festivities, take a few minutes and watch this video of Yale Professor David Blight and his discovery of the true origins of this national holiday.

“And then on May 1st 1865, they held a parade of 10,000 people on the race track, lead by 3,000 black children carrying arm loads of roses and singing John Browns Body. Followed then by black women, then by black men, it was regimented this way. Then by contingents of union infantry. Everybody marched all the way around the race track, as many as could fit, got into the grave site. Five black preachers read from scripture. A children’s quire sang the National Anthem, America the Beautiful, and several spirituals. And then they broke from that and went back to the infield of the race track, and did essentially what you and I do on memorial day. They ran races, they listened to 16 speeches by one account, and the troops marched back and fourth, and they held picnic’s. This was the first memorial day. African Americans invented Memorial Day, in Charleston, South Carolina.”

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