Gumby's Past > "The Negro as Soldier"
For Gumby and many of his contemporaries, the most direct and obvious way in which African Americans had contributed to a more general American history was by fighting in the US military. His four volumes on "The Negro as Soldier" document African-American efforts in every US conflict from the Revolutionary through the Korean Wars, as well as information about African Americans who enrolled in the service academies and other peacetime aspects of the subject. In keeping with the low-lying tenor of pan-Africanism that runs throughout Gumby's collection, these volumes also include scattered references to the military exploits of non-American soldiers of African descent like Toussaint L'Ouverture.
The two pages reproduced here (each of which included a foldout section, reproduced above as separate images) came from Gumby's treatment of African Americans in the Civil War. One page (see: "The Negro as Soldier, pt. 1," p. [21 verso, flap closed]) featured a November 1862 clipping from the New York Times that described the exploits of black soldiers recruited by Union General Rufus Saxton in the South Carolina Sea Islands. Gumby mounted this on the backside of a color lithograph (see: "The Negro as Soldier, pt. 1," p. [21 verso, flap open]) dating from about 1864 that depicts members of the 25th US Colored Troop regiment, which Philadelphia's Supervisory Committee for Recruiting Colored Regiments used as an advertisement in its attempt to enlist more black soldiers to the Union cause. Opposite these items, Gumby mounted three clippings. On the closed flap of this page (see: "The Negro as Soldier, pt. 1," p. [22 recto, flap closed]), he featured a leaf excised from Francis Trevelyan Miller's Photographic History of the Civil War (originally published in 1911) that showed the white officers of the 92nd US Colored Infantry above a contemporary clipping from a black newspaper series on Civil War history. Opening this flap reveals a page of scenes of "The Negro in the War" (see: "The Negro as Soldier, pt. 1," p. [22 recto, flap open]) most likely taken from a volume of Civil War images that the publisher Frank Leslie produced in the late nineteenth century.