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Charles H. Martin

Communist organizer and political prisoner, was born in the tiny southern Ohio town of Wyoming, the son of Paul Herndon, a coal miner. His mother, Harriet, was of a mixed-race background and worked as a domestic. According to an early version of Herndon's autobiography, his name was recorded in the family Bible as Eugene Angelo Braxton Herndon. During Herndon's youth, the family experienced poverty, which grew worse after his father died. Fundamentalist Christianity helped family members endure such hard times, and at the age of nine Herndon underwent a deep religious experience and joined a local church. Shortly after he turned thirteen, Herndon and an older brother left home for Kentucky, where they worked in a coal mine for a while before heading farther south to Alabama.

Over the next several years Herndon found employment at various construction and mining sites in the Birmingham area though ...

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Juanita Patience Moss

slave, Union soldier, and Andersonville prisoner, was born in Windsor, North Carolina, to unknown parents. His surname sometimes appears as Rolack. His physical description was that of a man five feet six inches tall with hazel eyes, brown hair, and a light complexion. Though historians have done much to illuminate the roles of black soldiers in black regiments, the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT), little has been done to document the experience and contributions of those who served with white regiments.

When Union regiments penetrated the Southern states to blockade Confederate access to the Atlantic coast for the exchange of cotton and tobacco for European guns and ammunition slaves began to abscond from nearby towns and plantations to seek out the Union troops whose presence promised freedom Not satisfied with being merely paid laborers behind Yankee lines some contrabands like Rolac chose to enlist in the Union army ...