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.
About the Author:
Al is a registered physical therapist that lives in the great state of Mississippi (Madison). He grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi. He attended Jackson State University and graduated Magna Cum-Laude from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, School of Physical Therapy in 1991. He came to the knowledge of his Confederate ancestor in 2008.
He started to search for an understanding of why, how, what and when did his great-great grandfather serve during the Civil war. His journey has led him to embrace his Confederate heritage and the roles of slaves in the Civil war during a primary focal point of America’s history.
He is a member of the Civil War Roundtable in Jackson, MS. He has a desire to see more African Americans study the Civil war and their connections to this vital part of America’s history. To this aim, he has written this book. He believes the Civil war history is inclusive of black history. Al is the family historian for the Arnold & Elliott Family Reunion in Monroe County, Mississippi. He is married to his wife, Tamiko of twenty-four years. They have three children, AJ, Alden and Asa. As a Christian, Al holds firmly to faith in Jesus Christ alone as the only hope for humanity in salvation, forgiveness, oneness, love and understanding the brotherhood of humanity.
Link to the Project: