Black History Month 2023

'army' - 8 results

Fighting to End Slavery: Massachusetts 54th



Charleston, South Carolina - It was cold and windy for the men of the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry, this Christmas day. Many were in a sour mood. They were in combat. They missed their families, friends, and sweethearts.

Encamped on Morris Island, on the outskirts of Charleston, the men watched the Union shelling of the besieged city.

Our rifles had sounded their fearful Christmas chimes by throwing shells into the city for three hours after one o'clock that morning, recalled Capt. Luis F. Emilio. He added, 'About 3 a.m. a fire broke out in Charleston which illumined the whole sky and destroyed twelve buildings before it was subdued, the falling walls injuring many firemen.'

Emilio, a white Salem, Mass., native, who had just turned 19 three days earlier, had been the acting commander of the regiment for some time following the famed attack on Fort Wagner that July.

From storming the fort on July 18th, Col. Robert Gould Shaw was killed, the regiment's first commander. Two Berkshire County men were killed in the failed attack. One was Henry Burghardt, of Lee. The other was Pittsfield native Eli Franklin. Burghardt was killed in action. Franklin died from his battle wounds, two (2) days later.

In September, Edward Needles Hallowell became the new commander of the 54th. Hallowell was wounded during the Fort Wagner battle, as Shaw's second in command.

That same month, the Confederates abandoned Fort Wagner. That helped open the way for the siege of Charleston.

For months after the attack, the soldiers' spirits were high. They knew they had proved their valor. It showed the fighting ability of all their Black brothers. Yet, by Christmas, after months of seeing no real action, they were feeling low.

'The whole face of nature now presents a drear and gloomy appearance, and the thousands who a month or two ago were full of hope and expectation have gradually come down to that frame of mind so well adapted to wait till something turns up,' commented Cpl. James Henry Gooding, a Black American soldier from the 54th, in a December 1863 letter to the New Bedford (Conn.) Mercury.

The entire month, both the weather and the men's spirits, had been overcast and dreary. There was the shooting of a white deserter from a New Hampshire regiment. The men were required to watch. The same month there was an explosion. It killed several soldiers.

The Confederates steadily attacked the Union. But, it was unusual for a shell to make it into the Union fortifications. This time, a magazine was being repaired by engineers. That made it vulnerable. The shell fell among munitions that went off. Four (4) were killed. Eleven (11) were seriously wounded, according to Gooding.

Added to these events were the continued problems with the men's pay.

The enlisted men of the 54th and its brother regiment, the 55th, fought to get the $13 a month they were due. Government paymasters, cited an 1862 law. They would only pay $7.

Christmas was a subdued affair. For Thanksgiving, the men attended a rousing church service and enjoyed a festive meal. It was followed by an afternoon filled with games. There were sack races and money for the first man to make it to the top of a greased pole.

In contrast, the highlight of Christmas Day was the arrival of letters from home.


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Memphis Massacre



Memphis, Tennessee - It was one of the worst race riots in Memphis history (began Tuesday and ended Thursday). Whites killed Black Americans for 3 days.

The massacre began after white police shot at Black army veterans, from the Union army. There were prior complaints of police brutality. Yet, none had been resolved.

After the shooting incident, white mobs raced into areas where Black Americans lived, in Memphis. Thus began a days long rampage of whites who murdered, burned, and raped in the Black American community.

More than 46 Black Americans were murdered. Two (2) whites died. No whites died because of Black Americans. Whites injured 75 Black Americans, robbed over 100, and raped five (5) women.

Whites destroyed 91 homes, four (4) churches and eight (8) schools. White mobs destroyed every Black American church and school in Memphis. By Thursday, May 3rd, Federal troops had restored order.

By 1870, the Black American population of Memphis had fallen by 25%, compared to 1865. No one was charged or held accountable. No Black American was compensated for their loss.

The Federal government refused prosecution. They claimed it was a state matter. The State of Tennessee and local officials refused to investigate or charge anyone for the mayhem.


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Buffalo Soldiers Act Passed



Washington, D. C. - The Buffalo Soldiers came from the 'Act to increase and fix the Military Peace Establishment on the United States.' It was drawn from Black American soldiers who served in the Slavery War.

Source:

Buffalo Soldiers Act p.332 (364)


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army Escorted Black Students



Little Rock, Arkansas - Federal troops guarded Black American students as they went to an all-white high school. An angry mob of whites waited for them, as they entered Central High School. Angry whites were there when they left the school. The United Staets army 101st Airborne helped the Black American students attend classes safely.


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Medger Evers Killed



Jackson, Mississippi - Medger Evers was murdered, at his home. The murderer, Byron De La Beckwith, was tried and convicted.

Early Wednesday morning, Medger Evers returned home to his waiting wife and children. Evers got out of his car. He carried T-shirts that read 'Jim Crow Must Go' in his hands. There, he was shot in the back, from an Enfield 1917 rifle. The bullet struck the 37 year-old Evers through his heart.

After the shot, Evers staggered 30 feet, to the front door of his house. There he collapsed. His wife, Myrtle, found him there.

Evers was taken to the local hospital. He was refused entry, because he was a Black American man. His family explained who he was and the hospital admitted him. Evers was in the hospital for 50 minutes, and died.

On June 19th, 1963, Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Martin Luther King, Jr. was in the funeral procession. Evers' funeral got full military honors.

Myrtle Evers fought to get the murderer convicted. On February 5th, 1994, Byron De La Beckwith was convicted of Evers' murder. It took 30 years, but Evers' murderer was sent to prison. Beckwith died in prison on Jaunary 21st, 2001.


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Youngest American Killed in Vietnam War



West of Hội An, Quảng Nam Province, Vietnam - Dan Bullock was the youngest soldier to die in the Vietnam War. He was a Black American teenager, and only 15 years of age. His rank was private first class in the United States Marines.

Bullock was born December 21, 1953, in Goldsboro, North Carolina. His mother died when he was 12 years of age. He moved to Brooklyn to live with his father. Due to his life in Brooklyn, he joined the military.

On December 10, 1968, Bullock finished army basic training (boot camp). He was 14 years of age.

On May 18, 1969, he was sent to Vietnam. In three (3) weeks, he was killed, while on night watch duty.

Until 2000, there was no marker for his grave. His name appeared on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It was placed on Panel 23W, Row 96.


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.22 caliber killer Caught



Buffalo, New York - James Gerard Christopher (aka The Midtown Slasher) murdered up to thirteen (13) Black American men. Christopher was an army enlistee. He was indicted (charges filed) for the murder of 3 Black American men.

Christopher was implicated in the murder of 8 Black American men. An additional nine (9) Black American men survived with injuries.

Christopher only targeted Black American men. He claimed to have murdered five (5) more Black American men (for a total of 13). Christopher died in Attica Prison, New York, at age 37, March 1st, 1993.


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George Floyd Killed By Police



Minneapolis, Minnesota - George Floyd was killed by the police. He died of heart failure, caused by forced restraint. Four (4) Minneapolis police workers were involved in his death. They were Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao.

Floyd was a Black American. He had just left a convenience store. Inside, someone called the police. It was alleged that Floyd passed a fake $20 bill. In response, Chauvin, arrived at the scene. He was joined by Kueng, Lane, and Thao. Chauvin met Floyd on the street and took him to the ground.

With Floyd on the ground, Chauvin put his knee on Floyd's neck. Two (2) other Minneapolis police workers held down Floyd's legs and torso. Another police worker kept watch. Floyd told Chauvin many times, 'I can't breathe.' Chauvin ignored him and kept his knee on Floyd's neck. Seven minutes later, Floyd died.

Chauvin was an army Reservist from 1996-2004. After the encounter with George Floyd, Chauvin was fired the next day, May 26th, 2020, from the Minneapolis Police Department.

Source:

George Floyd Cause of Death


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