But the ability to put it under a microscope of truth provides a deeper and more intricate presentation of an era.
For the last in the Rome-Floyd Civil War Symposium Series, Armuchee resident and Georgia historian Dan Roper spoke to a crowd in the Coosa Room of the Rome-Floyd County Library.
In his presentation, Roper brought out the complicated state of race relations in Rome surrounding the War Between the States.
“It’s much more complex and far more interesting than the ideas that became so connected with the Civil War and its aftermath,” Roper said of a particular story from that time period.
What began as a black man entering a Floyd County church in 1871 became a tale that would reach Washington, D.C., and symbolize the varied feelings toward black people in the latter half of the 19th century.
“It was so notorious, it gave me chills,” Roper said.
The preacher who happened to be there that day, Augustus R. Wright, was not only an officer in the Confederate Army, but also a former Confederate congressman.
But instead of any outlash of racial tension or a protest from the congregation, the members of the church took the man, whose name is lost to history, and washed his feet.
Roper said that the members did so because they considered him their equal in the eyes of the Lord.
Roper said the preacher relayed the story during a congressional hearing in Washington.
Even before the Civil War, Roper said that because of the type of community Rome was, the relationship between the slave owner and the freed black man was a complicated one.
The research of a historian in California turned up that while slaves were forbidden to own land properly, there was an informal and respected practice in Rome where slaves had small plots of land and were even allowed to have income-producing jobs on the side.
The presentation wrapped up two years of the Rome-Floyd Civil War Symposium Series, which was done in partnership with the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Rome-Floyd County Library.