Show Thyself a Man
Georgia State Troops, Colored, 1865–1905

Gregory Mixon

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Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council Award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of Archives
The history of Black militias in Georgia after the Civil War and their importance in defining citizenship
“Mixon’s research into this critical aspect of postbellum life is impeccable and represents a significant contribution to the study of African American military history. . . . A tremendously valuable study.”—Civil War Book Review  
“Expands our understanding of African American agency during Georgia’s post?Civil War era. . . . Breaks new ground by underscoring the important interplay between race and civilian military power during Reconstruction.” —Journal of Southern History  
"Mixon's examination of Black militias in post-emancipation Georgia and their fight for citizenship and equality provides a powerful and compelling portrait of the social revolution process at the grassroots level."—Jeffrey R. Kerr-Ritchie, author of Freedom's Seekers: Essays on Comparative Emancipation

"Tells the story of the rise and fall of Black militia units in Georgia during the post-Civil War era and highlights how Black militia service symbolized citizenship, political activism, social standing, and the hope for a bright future for African Americans throughout the United States."—Marcus S. Cox, author of Segregated Soldiers: Military Training at Historically Black Colleges in the Jim Crow South

In Show Thyself a Man, Gregory Mixon explores the ways in which African Americans in postbellum Georgia used militia service after the Civil War to define freedom and citizenship. Independent militias empowered them to get involved in politics, secure their own financial independence, and mobilize for self-defense.

As white and Black people competed for state sponsorship of their militia companies, African Americans sought to establish their roles as citizens of their country and their state. They proved their efficiency as militiamen and publicly commemorated black freedom and progress with celebrations such as Emancipation Day and the anniversaries of the Civil War Amendments.

White Georgians, however, used the militia as a different symbol of freedom—to ensure not only the postwar white right to rule but to assert states' rights. This social, political, and military history examines how Black militias were integral to the process of liberation, Reconstruction, and nation-building that defined the latter half of the nineteenth century South.

Gregory Mixon, professor of history at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, is the author of The Atlanta Riot: Race, Class, and Violence in a New South City.

A volume in the series Southern Dissent, edited by Stanley Harrold and Randall M. Miller
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GHRAC Award for Excellence for Research Using the Holdings of Archives - 2018

A tremendously valuable study. . . . [for] anyone who wants to understand African American military service and the ambiguous relationship between military service and American citizenship.
--Civil War Book Review

Expands our understanding of African American agency during Georgia’s post-Civil War era [and] . . . . breaks new ground by underscoring the important interplay between race and civilian military power during Reconstruction.
--Journal of Southern History

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