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Blacks in Wartime

Judith Michaelson’s “A ‘Civil War’ for the Masses” (July 22) quotes filmmaker Ken Burns about his forthcoming nine-episode epic on PBS: “If I am most proud of one thing in this film, it is the erasing of this pernicious myth that blacks were passive bystanders. . . . Blacks were agents of their own deliverance.”

I have been reading Joseph T. Glatthaar’s remarkable new book, “Forged in Battle: The Civil War Alliance of Black Soldiers and White Officers” (The Free Press). It brings to life the extraordinary performance of black troops on the battlefields of the Civil War better than any previous single volume.

Black and white Americans, through mutual pride engendered by shared combat experiences dating back through the Civil War to pre-Revolutionary War days, can learn that there is no real basis for racial prejudice. Minority Americans--black, brown and yellow--have always contributed more than their fair share of courage and sacrifice on American battlefields.

DAVID K. CARLISLE

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Los Angeles


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