Black In Blue: African Americans in the Civil War Navies - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Black In Blue: African Americans in the Civil War Navies

(Source: Port Columbus Civil War Naval Museum) (Source: Port Columbus Civil War Naval Museum)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

Those at the National Civil War Naval Museum were in for a special treat on Saturday. The Black In Blue: African Americans in the Civil War Navies history program told the stories of three phenomenal people who were affected by the Navies of the Civil War.

They are probably two names you've never heard before - Moses Dallas, a slave pilot, and his wife, Harriet Dallas, a business owner.

Moses Dallas was a "nominal slave". His owner Mrs. Elbert gave him legal papers that let him live where he wanted, negotiate his contracts, and keep the money he earned. He loved being a pilot so much, he chose to remain a slave.

"Georgia law states that a free man of color can't serve as a pilot, but a slave can. I am what I am, and that's that," said actor Jonathan Perkins.

Moses didn't see fit for his wife and daughter to remain slaves. He used the money he'd saved, to buy their freedom.

"We had us a five acre farm on the southside of Savannah. I had a laundry business of my own. Hiring out other women slave and free to help with the work," said actress Anitra Thompson.

Moses worked with the Confederate Navy for three years.

"They want me to guide an awry of union blockade ships and it's a mighty bold plan," said Perkins.

Moses was on the expedition that captured the Federal gunboat USS Water Witch. Along with five others, he died carrying out that bold plan.

"The Confederate Navy paid for a burial with honors, but they also gave his last pay to Mrs. Elbert, not me his widow."

The monologues of these historical figures were written from receipts and government records. Pictures of this husband and wife are hard to find, but with the help of the National Civil War Naval Museum, their stories will be told. 

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