Mattie Clyburn Rice, Daughter of Slave Who Fought For the Confederacy, Buried Under Confederate Flag.
(Image via NPR.)
Over 150 years after her father Weary Clyburn, a former slave, Mattie Clyburn Rice has been laid to rest next to her father, under a Confederate flag. Weary Clyburn was one of many slaves forced to fight for the confederacy. Clyburn followed his master into war and ended up saving his master’s life.
Weary Clyburn, who went to war at the age of 19, received a reduced pension for his service — due to the color of his skin he was not considered an actual soldier. After his death in 1930, the pension was not transferred to his widow. Clyburn was never recognized in any historical documents as a confederate soldier.
Mattie Clyburn Rice, who passed away at the age of 91 in September, was the youngest child of Weary Clyburn. Weary Clyburn was 83 with Mattie Clyburn Rice was born. When Clyburn Rice was told of her father’s service as a young child, initially she and her siblings did not believe him. After year’s of research she began to piece together the reality of what her father endured during the Civil War. In her later years, Clyburn Rice fought for the recognition of her father and others like him — slaves who were forced to endure the horrors of war in addition to the horrors of slavery, as a result of their captivity. Clyburn Rice once stated in an interview, “I couldn’t figure out why they were slaves and why they had to do all this fighting. I said to myself that if I ever get old enough and have enough money, I’m going to find out where these people went and what they did.”
In 2012 a plaque honoring the service of Weary Clyburn, along with 8 other black slaves, and one black free man was placed at the Union County, North Carolina courthouse.
Mattie Clyburn Rice’s ashes were buried next to her father, in a special ceremony, complete with Confederate pomp.