19. The Sable Arm by Dudley Cornish
Published in 1978 by Dudley Cornish, The Sable Arm dives into the history of Black Union soldiers fighting for freedom and liberty during the Civil War. Cornish traces the history of Black men as Union soldiers and how that affected both the fate of Black citizens and their role in the military today and the white Union soldiers who fought alongside them at that time. Told in chapters beginning with an appropriate quotation relating to the subject matter, The Sable Arm takes the reader through the challenges and results of allowing Black soldiers into the Union Army.
A bona fide classic, The Sable Arm was the first work to fully chronicle the remarkable story of the nearly 180,000 Black troops who served in the Union Army. Cornish details the hardships and conditions that these soldiers had to face to pave the way for Black troops today. Cornish traces similarities and outcomes in today’s military system that began with the admittance of these troops.
“One of the one hundred best books ever written on the Civil War.” —Civil War Times Illustrated
“The most valuable book ever written on the topic.” — Herman Hattaway, coauthor of How the North Won