Military

Crispus Attucks

Crispus Attucks

A runaway slave who believed fiercely in freedom commanded the people of Boston “do not be afraid,” as he struck out against the redcoats and became the first hero to die in an attack that spurred the American Revolution.

On the night of March 5, 1770, five citizens of Boston died when eight British soldiers fired on a large and unruly crowd that was menacing them. Boston’s patriots, led by Sam Adams, immediately labeled the affray the Boston Massacre and hailed its victims as martyrs for liberty. The troops had been sent to Boston in late 1768 to support the civil authorities and were themselves subject to the jurisdiction of the local courts.  Continue reading

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback

Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback

(b. May 10, 1837, Macon, Ga., U.S.–d. Dec. 21, 1921, Washington, D.C.), freeborn black who was a Union officer in the American Civil War and a leader in Louisiana politics during Reconstruction (1865-77).

Pinchback was one of 10 children born to a white Mississippi planter and a former slave–whom the father had freed before the boy’s birth. When the father died in 1848, the family fled to Ohio, fearing that white relatives might attempt to re-enslave them.

Pinchback found work as a cabin boy on a canal boat and worked his way up to steward on the steamboats plying the Mississippi, Missouri, and Red rivers. After war broke out between the states in 1861, he ran the Confederate blockade on the Mississippi to reach Federal-held New Orleans; there he raised a company of black volunteers for the North, called the Corps d’Afrique. When he encountered racial discrimination in the service, however, he resigned his captain’s commission.  Continue reading

U.S.S. Mason

U.S.S. Mason

On March 20, 1944, at the Charleston shipyard in Boston, MA, the USS Mason was commissioned, or placed into active service, by the Governor of the state, the city’s mayor, and the ship’s new captain, William M. Blackford. The ship sailed for Belfast, Ireland, its first port of call, to join the British and American “Battle of the Atlantic.”

During W.W.II only one American Navy warship carried an African American crew into combat, The U.S.S. Mason. It was the job of smaller, easier to handle destroyer escort ships, like the USS Mason, to guard and protect the larger merchant vessels which carried badly needed supplies between the US and Europe. The mission of D. E?s was to stop German submarines, or  U-boats, from sinking the larger ships with their deadly torpedoes. Although segregated on this one navel fighting ship, the men of the USS Mason were well-trained and bravely accepted and carried out the job they were given.  Continue reading

Ronald McNair

Ronald McNair

1950-1986 - On February 3, 1984, mission specialist Dr. Ronald McNair and his fellow crew members on space shuttle mission 41-B executed the first runway landing of the Challenger at Kennedy Space Center. McNair, a laser physicist, also played a key role in the mission’s other firsts: activating the Manned Maneuvering Unit; operating the Canadian Arm, which positioned crew members around the Challenger’s payload; and performing numerous mid-deck experiments.

In his “spare” time in space, McNair entertained the other four astronauts with a jazz concert on his saxophonealso a first in space.  Continue reading

Anna Ella Carroll

Anna Ella Carroll

Anna Ella Carroll

More than a century following her death, after being ignored, oppressed, and–literally–erased from history, Anna Ella Carroll is finally getting the last word. Carroll was an intriguing and atypical 19th century woman who emerged from the male-dominated realm of war, politics, and diplomacy.

As a key military strategist, Presidential advisor, and “unofficial” member of Abraham Lincoln’s Cabinet, Carroll was probably the most powerful woman in American during the Civil War. Biographers note that she could “scheme, connive, and maneuver as well as any man.”  Continue reading

Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Martin R. Delany
  • Dr. Percy Lavon Julian
  • Segregation in buses and terminals banned
  • Bethune-Cookman University
  • National Council of Negro women
  • William Tucker
  • Lena Horne
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