These most celebrated African-American Veterans in history have played important roles in every US wars since the colonial times.
This was despite the ongoing slavery, segregation, and racial discrimination. They fought with bravery and patriotism yet some of their white counterparts are still skeptical as to their contributions to society and public memory seems to forget their participation in the American success.
In celebration of Black History Month, we at Patriot honor and acknowledge all of the brave black men and women who changed the course of American history. We take this opportunity to thank the minorities who have helped America achieve greatness. Below are some of the influential African-Americans Veterans in history whose names and stories we should never allow history to forget.
Tuskegee Airmen, first black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps
Photo courtesy of Military.com
Civil rights groups argued that Black Americans should be included in the expanding civilian pilot training program in the U.S. At a time Racists believed that Black soldiers performed poorly relative to whites and they could not operate aircraft. The response of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt resulted in the creation of the Tuskegee base where the Tuskegee Airmen became America’s first black combat pilots and one of the most celebrated African-American veterans in history. They went on to become one of the most highly decorated military pilots in U.S. history. During World War II, they flew more than 15,000 individual missions and were awarded 96 Distinguished Flying Crosses. Their excellence paved the way for the legitimate argument that there is no need to segregate races in the military.
Corporal Freddie Stowers, the only African American soldier awarded the U. S. Congressional Medal of Honor during World War I
Photo Courtesy of United States Foundation for the Commemoration of the World Wars
In 1917, France was in need of soldiers and the U.S. was only willing to offer African American regiments which they thought of as inferior to their white ones. However, this was proven to be untrue when African American regiments excelled in their military service such as that of Cpl. Freddie Stowers and his company. He was then serving as the squad leader. Stowers led his company during the attack at Hill 188, Champagne Marne Sector of France. The enemy charged the enemy trenches, bringing down the machine gun post. He died then. This paved the way for him becoming one of the most celebrated African-Amerioan Veterans in history. He encouraged his members to go ahead although it meant leaving him behind. It fueled their drive and they pressed on with the attack which led to the capture of Hill 188.
Siah Hulett Carter, U.S. Navy Veteran who served on the USS Monitor during the Civil War
Photo courtesy of United States Navy Memorial
Siah Carter was a slave who worked as a carpenter on the Shirley Plantation in Charles City County, VA. On May 18, 1862, he rowed in a small boat to freedom the USS Monitor, an ironclad warship anchored in the James River. THe begged to be enlisted. The captain saw something special in him. He joined the Union Navy. He then became the first enlisted “contrabands”, a term used for escaped slaves.
Rear Admiral Lillian Elaine Fishburne, first female African-American to be promoted to flag rank in the U.S. Navy
Photo courtesy of Military.com
Fishbourne aided in establishing the truth that women have indispensable involvements in the military. She was born into a naval family who never casted any doubts on their daughter’s military ambitions just because of her gender. The assignments and promotions she received were due to her strong and admirable work ethic that resulted in several more awards and decorations such as the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medal, and the Navy Achievement Medal.
We invite you to recognize Black History Month with us this month and to take actions that actively foster equity and inclusion.
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You can also check out our our HONOR OUR TROOPS Campaign. This is a year-round effort to Honor, Empower, and Connect our nation's service members, veterans, and their families.