Robert is made colonel of the 54th Massachusetts regiment. Why is he not thrilled by his appointment?
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GradeSaver is primarily a literature site and I don't claim to be a historian. Still this stuff is around if you look.
The regiment was authorized in March 1863 by the Governor of Massachusetts, John A. Andrew. Commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, it was commissioned after the passage of the Emancipation Proclamation. White officers would be in charge of all "colored" units. Colonel Shaw was hand picked by Governor John Andrew. Shaw always wanted a command but a unit of all black troops was not his dream job. Racism was imbedded in the very fabric of society back then. I saw the movie though and Matthew Broderick (as Shaw) seemed to get used to the idea. I just kept thinking of Ferris Bueller though!