Dear Kevin Levin:

I honestly never noticed your tweets, but now that I see them, I agree, it’s time to correct the record.


After going back and reading the story published here three years ago, as well as your clapback, I came to the conclusion that I agree with you. There were no black Confederate soldiers. I don’t know how I am responsible for this, but I will go on record as saying that I don’t agree with this guy who wrote this thing before I even arrived here.

But damn you Kevin, I hate you for this. You sent me down a rabbit hole!

Because I am not a historian, I tend to either research a subject or ask people who know what the fuck they are talking about. I emailed a friend who is a history professor and he forwarded it to another professor who is a Civil War historian. After reading both articles, he also agrees with your challenge for anyone to give one real, primary sourced account of a black Confederate soldier.


But he also warned me that, being familiar with John Stauffer’s claims, the dispute lies in Stauffer’s ultimate definition of “soldier.” Stauffer seems to characterize slaves who were impressed into service as cooks, laborers, etc. as “soldiers.” I disagree with that assessment, but my professor friend asked a very important question via email: “Should the thousands of black men who were drafted during the Vietnam war and only served in support roles be considered ‘soldiers’?” I think there is a difference, but even though I am on your side of this issue, I am not willing to parse the subject for one reason:

I kinda don’t give a fuck.

Whether the tiny number of black Confederates is zero or 6,000, it is the same as when Conservatives ask me to defend black-on-black crime because of the less than one percent of black people who commit violent crimes. It is the same as explaining to Fox News viewers who believe Black Lives Matter is a terrorist group that Micah Johnson, who killed five Dallas police officers, was not affiliated with Black Lives Matter in any way.


Racists, neo-confederates and people who watch Fox News don’t give a fuck about facts. If we erased John Stauffer’s article from The Root, they would find another example. I should also point out that, when I checked our data, the biggest bump in the article’s readership seems to be the times when you mentioned it.

I disagree with Stauffer 100 percent. I can tell that you disagree also. But I am also not in the habit of censoring thought because I disagree with it. If I were, I would have simply blocked you. But I am called the n-word every day and I rarely block those people.


If you think it is an “insult” for me to denigrate people who believe in black Confederates, I would like to point out that I have yet to mention that your name is fucking Kevin Levin. I haven’t made a single 7-11 joke or wondered if I knew you from your cameo in a Dr. Seuss Book. Nor have I asked if your parents were struggling rappers.

And if you think that it is wrong for me to not call out The Root for posting things I am not in favor of, I remind you that writers here have written about the flat earth theory, Christianity, sugar on grits and Cardi B’s rapping ability, all of which I believe are trash.


I choose not to censor. I choose to clap back.

Like a true soldier.

From: Michael Harriot
To: Yesha Callahan

I love real niggas.

Because I tend to have an affinity for shit-talking abrasive people who like to fight, most of my friends are people who can’t hold their tongues or “stay in their place.” Some of them were frat brothers, teammates or homeboys, but most of them were black women. All my life I have been surrounded by people like this, including my mother, my sisters, cousins, neighbors and friends. If you ever find yourself with your back against a wall and you need someone who’ll stand beside you and help you fight your way out, find yourself a black woman.

They are the realest of niggas.

A few years ago, when I was immersed in macroeconomic data, I occasionally got the chance to exercise my real passion, writing about black shit, mostly for myself and non-black outlets in hopes that people would read it. One day, out of the blue, I received an email from some lady, a black woman, telling me that she was accepting pitches.

Her name was Yesha Callahan.

Eventually, I began working at The Root, and got to know this Yesha lady. When I received a job offer from The Root, she texted me and told me what to say, even though I hadn’t asked. Sometimes, even when I am not bothered, she will attack people in my name. She’s a little overprotective like a pit bull on the front porch.

She and I have had real-deal arguments. She just sent me a mean-ass message as I was typing this. She has called me in the middle of the night. We have discussed everything from sexism to catching the Holy Ghost. She annoys me a lot. I know I annoy her a lot. I consider her a friend.

You’re the realest nigga I know.

So I know you won’t mind me singing a farewell song:

How do I say goodbye to what we had?
The times you cussed me out, or got big mad?
I thought we’d get to see a Pulitzer, or at least a Peabodaaaaay
It’s so hard to say goodbye to Yesha today.


[Editor’s note: Thanks, Michael, for fucking making me cry! -Yesha]