The Vicksburg Civil War Roundtable is proud to announce that our speaker for November will be Mr. Al Arnold!
Mr. Arnold is the author of Robert E. Lee’s Orderly, A Modern Black Man’s Confederate Journey. An excerpt from his website (http://www.orderlyforlee.com) best describes Al, his book, and his story of historical and personal discovery:
“A descendant of a slave, Al Arnold, tells his journey of embracing his Confederate heritage. His ancestor, Turner Hall, Jr., a Black Confederate, served as a body servant for two Confederate soldiers and an orderly for General Robert E. Lee. Turner Hall, Jr. returned to Okolona, Mississippi after the Civil War. Hall served a prominent family in that community for five generations. His life's journey eventually led him to Hugo, Oklahoma where he established himself as the town's most distinguished citizen receiving acclaim from Black and White citizens alike for his service. In 1938, his journey continued to Pennsylvania as the last Civil War veteran from his community to attend the final Civil War veteran reunion, as a Black Confederate. He also traveled to New York City and was interviewed by the national talk radio show, "We, The People" in 1940.
One hundred and three years after the Civil War, Hall's great-great grandson, Al Arnold, was born in Okolona, Mississippi. Raised in North Mississippi, Al would later discover the history of his ancestor and began an eight year journey of why, how and for what reasons his ancestor served the Confederate armies? To his amazement, Al discovered that seventy two years after the Civil war, his ancestor was a proud Confederate and held in his possession a cherished gift from the Confederate Civil War general, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Al's personal research discovered that his ancestor was owned by Forrest and was enthusiastically warm toward the general and his service to the Confederate armies. This amazing connection to two famous Confederate generals awakened a new perception of curiosity about Confederate heritage in Al and challenged his traditional thoughts. He grew to accept his heritage and now embraces it with a desire to see African Americans embrace Confederate heritage instead of rejecting it on the notion of modern ideology. This is a deep personal journey of faith, heritage, race and family wrapped around the grace of God through the eyes and honest thoughts of a modern black man. Al tells the story of Turner Hall, Jr., his personal Confederate journey and how family and faith has brought harmony to his new found heritage. Arnold argues for the revitalization of the lost Black history of the Civil War era. He bestows dignity and honor on his Confederate ancestor and challenges the traditional thoughts of modern African Americans. Arnold rests in his faith as the uniting force that reconciles our colorful past to our bright future.”
We hope you will join us to meet Mr. Arnold and hear him speak at 7 PM on Monday, Nov. 21st. at the Baer House Inn, 1117 Grove St., Vicksburg, MS. This event is free to attend and all are welcome! For more information, email us at info@VicksburgCivilWarRoundtable.com or call 270-559-6943 or 601-883-1525.