Famous African American Veterans and Their Unforgettable Stories!
When it comes to Black History, the focus often falls on well-known figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks. But there’s much more to the story than that. African Americans have served in the U.S. military since the nation’s earliest wars. Although their service was sometimes met with resistance or distrust, their patriotism was never in question. In fact, many black American soldiers displayed remarkable courage and determination while fighting for our country. These famous African-American veterans shared their personal stories with us that inspire us to keep exploring other great people who made this world a better place through their actions beyond words!
When we think of veterans, soldiers who have served in the military come to mind. While most people will think of Caucasian men when they consider veterans, there are many African American veterans who have served their country with distinction and honor.
In fact, African Americans have served in the armed forces since the Revolutionary War. Today, there are many famous African American veterans who are known for their service and sacrifice for our country.
If you’re interested in learning about these famous African American veterans and their unbelievable stories, keep reading!
Henry O. Flipper
On March 21, 1856, Henry Ossian Flipper was born in Thomasville, Georgia, into slavery, becoming the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy in 1877. He was raised in Georgia. He attended the American Missionary Association Schools after the Civil War, as well as Georgia’s schools. He was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy in 1873, and the following year he became the academy’s first African-American graduate. He was commissioned a second lieutenant and assigned to the 10th Cavalry. Following a review, Lieutenant Flipper was accused of embezzlement and bad behavior. As a result of this, he was court-martialed. He was acquitted of embezzlement charges but convicted of unbecoming behavior as a result of the charges against him. On June 30, 1882, Lieutenant Flipper, as required by the court-martial, was dismissed from the army.
Henry Flipper maintained throughout his lifetime that he was innocent of the charges that got him court-martialled and discharged from the Army and that he sought to have his conviction overturned. He died in Georgia in 1940. In 1976, his descendants and supporters sent a request to the Army Board for the Correction of Military Records on his behalf. The Assistant Secretary of the Army and the Adjutant General approved the Board’s conclusions, findings and recommendations and issued a Certificate of Honorable Discharge dated 1882.
Edward A. Carter, Jr.
Edward Carter, who lived for two decades after the World War 2, knew what he had accomplished, but sadly his country did not fully recognize it until 34 years after his death. He knew, but his country did not. When he was still alive, Edward Carter fulfilled his duty to his country, and he lived for two decades after the war. It wasn’t until 34 years after his death that his country finally recognized his contributions. He was born in 1916 in India to a missionary father and East Indian mother and raised in China, where he became worldly early on in life. He fought in the Chinese war against the Japanese invasion in 1932 and in the Spanish war against the fascists in 1936 and 1937. He joined the US Army in September 1941 and imagined being on the front lines to serve his country, but saw his hopes dashed by his previous experiences with communists in China and fascists in Spain.
On March 1945, as the allies approached the Rhine River, Carter was attached to the “1st Infantry Company Provisional, 7th Army (Negro Company),” as it was assigned to the 56th Armored Infantry Battalion. Bridges were damaged severely by allied air bombing and the Germans’ retreating, so the 56th proceeded south from Mannheim to Speyer, which was reported to still have an intact bridge to the east side of the river. Just north of the town, Carter and his men encountered heavy fire from the German defenders. He later recognized and received a Medal of Honor.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.
On December 18, 1912, Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. He became the first African American general in the U.S. Air Force as well as a pilot, officer, and administrator. His father, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., was the first African American general in any branch of the military. Davis studied at the University of Chicago before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. After graduating, he was commissioned as an infantryman and was one of the first groups of African Americans admitted to the Army Air Corps and pilot training. One year later, he was made lieutenant colonel and founded the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first African American air unit. He helped create and command the 332nd Fighter Group (the Tuskegee Airmen) in 1943, serving as its commander throughout the war. Davis himself had flown 60 combat missions by the end of the conflict. He was a colonel when he died in 1994 at the age of eighty-two.
Why is it important to share these stories?
It’s important to share these stories to celebrate the many different aspects of Black History. These stories also provide inspiration for kids of all races who might be interested in a career in the armed forces. Finally, it’s important to remember that there are many people who served in the military before, during, and after these notable figures, and they deserve recognition as well.
How can we celebrate Black History Month?
There are many ways to celebrate Black History Month with your family. You can listen to African-American poets and authors, watch documentaries about important moments in history, or even host a Black History Bingo night!
These famous African-American veterans shared their personal stories with us that inspire us to keep exploring other great people who made this world a better place through their actions beyond words! With every passing year, there are fewer and fewer veterans who served in World War II. This is their story, and it’s up to us to make sure it’s not forgotten.