Quick Facts

One Black soldier, Sergeant Henry Johnson of the 369th Regiment, was the first American of the war to receive the French Croix de Guerre.

African-American Heroes
Soldiers in formation

William H. Carney

Sergeant William Carney became the first African-American to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery while serving during the Civil War.

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Squadron of the 9th Cavalry at Fort Robinson, Nebraska

Cathay Williams

Cathay Williams became the first African-American female to enlist in the Army, though she actually enlisted under the name William Cathay and was thought to be a male.

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Henry Ossian Flipper

In 1873, Henry O. Flipper entered the U.S. Military Academy and became the first African American to graduate from the academy in 1877.

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92nd Infantry Division

Benjamin Oliver Davis, Sr.

Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. became the first African-American Army General Officer in 1940. Later investigating the discrimination and racial disturbances of the military.

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Colin L. Powell

Following his years of military service, Colin L. Powell was appointed to the position of Secretary of State in 1990, becoming the first African American to serve at that level of government.

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