African American Soldier, Pleads For Equal Treatment, By James Henry Gooding

1483 Words Dec 17th, 2016 6 Pages
In the primary source “James Henry Gooding, an African American Soldier, Pleads for Equal Treatment, 1863,” discusses how black soldiers were not being treated as equals in comparison to their white counterparts. Their main concern was with being underpaid for the same work as the white soldiers. They felt as though they were being treated as if they were “contraband” instead of freemen. In a way, African Americans were still in a way being treated as slaves when in fact they were free. The issues as described in this primary source exemplify the equality and freedom, or lack thereof, for African Americans following their emancipation. Their lives from that point would forever be different, but what matters is how they changed.
As with most topics, different people have different views. Similarly, historians perceive the outcome and impact of historical events in different ways. The major debate among historians about Reconstruction is how the lives of African American changed. There are many conflicting opinions on the severity of the change, and whether it was for the better or worse. This is due to their treatment after they gained their emancipation. For example, the primary source “James Henry Gooding, an African American Soldier, Pleads for Equal Treatment, 1863,” argues how black soldiers are doing the same work as the white soldiers, but aren’t even getting paid a third of what white soldiers are being paid. He argues that, “we have done a Soldier’s duty. Why can’t…

Related Documents