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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean and Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor winner, was born in Winnboro, South Carolina, the son of Frizell Anderson, a carpenter, and Blanche Rabb Anderson, a homemaker. Webster's parents had seven children, daughters Frances, Alberta, Marjorie, and Marie, and sons Frizell Jr., Webster, Billy, and Larry.

In 1953, Anderson was drafted by the Army to serve in the Korean War. Although racism suffused the armed forces despite President Harry Truman's executive order to integrate the military, Anderson's initial Army experiences were largely positive. He would later tell his son Davis that joining the Army was “a good thing for him.” He believed that his white commanding officers as much as his fellow soldiers “helped pave the way” for his military career (Anderson). Webster enjoyed a happy private life too, marrying Ida Davis in 1959 In their ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Special Forces soldier in the Vietnam War and Medal of Honor winner, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of Eugene and Cornelia Ashley. Within a short time after the younger Eugene's birth, the family moved to New York City, likely to take advantage of greater opportunities for employment during the Depression years. Ashley graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 1948. With employment opportunities limited in the post–World War II era and meaningful jobs hard to come by, Ashley joined the United States Army on 7 December 1950.

During World War II black soldiers had fought in both the Pacific and European theaters in segregated units commanded by white officers. President Truman's 1947 Executive Order 9981 however officially ended segregation practices in all branches of the U S armed forces The tradition bound services proved slow to change and several years passed before ...

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Linda Spencer

lawyer, diplomat, and activist, was born Helen Elsie Austin in Cincinnati, Ohio, the daughter of George J. Austin and Mary Louise Dotson Austin. Elsie Austin grew up in a family with a history of standing up for justice and equality. Her role model was her great‐grandmother, the wife of one of the first black U.S. congressional representatives elected after the Civil War, who, when she was taunted by racist terror and threat of death by the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama because of her husband's role in politics, defied the Klan.

Austin expressed this courage and spirit as a child in Cincinnati s public schools when she was eight years old and one of only two African American children in her class she pointed out textbook errors that degraded the role of Africans in world history and she listed many of the contributions made by Africans After she spoke ...

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Frank N. Schubert

Edward Lee Baker, Jr. was born on December 28, 1865, in a California-bound freight wagon along the North Platte River in present-day Laramie County, Wyoming. He was born to a French father and an African American mother. On July 27, 1882, Baker enlisted in the army in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served as an enlisted man and as an officer in the American West, Cuba, and the Philippines for twenty-eight years.

Baker's first assignment was to the Ninth Cavalry at Fort Riley, Kansas. He remained with the regiment for five years and participated in the efforts to restrain Sooners, who sought to claim Oklahoma homesteads before the official opening of the territory. In 1887, he joined the Tenth Cavalry in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For the next ten years, he was stationed at posts in Arizona and Montana. In 1892 he was promoted first to regimental quartermaster ...

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Jeffery Othele Mahan

soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Manuel Caldera and Beulah Baker. After the deaths of his parents, Vernon and his sisters, Irma and Katherine, were raised by their maternal grandparents, Joseph Samuel Baker, a retired brakeman for the Union Pacific Railroad, and Dora Lucas. Although his grandparents never officially adopted him, Vernon took the surname Baker and did not know his original surname until later in life. Baker was educated at various elementary and secondary schools, including two years at Father Flanagan's Boys Home in Omaha, Nebraska. Baker finally earned his high school diploma at Clarinda, Iowa, in 1939.

After graduation, Baker returned to Cheyenne, where he found work at the army depot at night doing maintenance, repair, and cleaning jobs. Baker was rejected on his first attempt to join the army. Finally in June 1942 he enlisted and was ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

U.S. Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Judson and Adeline (Beans) Bell. Judson Bell worked as both a sailor and a household servant, while his wife worked as a domestic servant and laundress to support their large family, including daughters Emily and Julia; sons Rowsberry, Abraham, Dennis, Alton, and Frank; as well as Adeline's mother, Henrietta Beans. After completing his public education, Dennis Bell left Washington, D.C., at an unknown date and by 1892 was employed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as a coal miner.

Bell enlisted in the U.S. Army for a term of five years on 3 December 1892 in Pittsburgh and was assigned for duty in the Tenth Cavalry Regiment This unit was one of four segregated army regiments including the Ninth Cavalry and the Twenty Fourth and Twenty Fifth Infantry Regiments in which African Americans could serve ...

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Marlene L. Daut

escaped slave, navy landsman, and U.S. Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1841 of unknown parentage. Brown was a slave in Mississippi on a cotton plantation, and nothing is known of his childhood or to whom he belonged. In the early 1860s, at the start of the Civil War, Brown ran away from his master on a skiff that eventually managed to reach a Union ship stationed on the Mississippi River. This encounter with the navy probably accounts for his subsequent enlistment. The navy was a likely choice for an escaped slave; many escaped slaves, as well as free blacks from the North, were often drawn to the service because of its better pay and purported fairer treatment of blacks. Brown enlisted in the Union navy on 18 March 1863 under the title 1st Class Boy and was officially described as a Contraband Negro five ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

U.S.Army Special Forces soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Cochran, Georgia, the son of Sebron Bryant. His mother's name is not known. Bryant's parents were divorced when he was a child, and he subsequently went to Detroit to live with an uncle. During his high school years he lived in Newark, New Jersey, and graduated from the Newark Vocational and Technical High School in 1951. Bryant then returned to Detroit, where he enlisted in the army on 16 March 1953, at the end of the Korean War.

The time period in which William Bryant joined the army was a transitional one indeed; the idea of segregating black soldiers in their own units, as had been the army's practice since the Civil War, had only been recently abolished by an executive order from President Harry Truman in October 1951 resulting in the ...

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Dalyce Newby

William Harvey Carney was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of William Carney and Ann, a former slave. Little is known of his early years. As a young boy he expressed an interest in the ministry, and at the age of fourteen, in 1854, he attended a covertly run school under the tutelage of a local minister. Later he moved to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he took odd jobs in the hope of saving sufficient funds to acquire his religious training.

In 1862, despite strong opposition, Abraham Lincoln signed a bill authorizing the recruitment of African American troops. Parties attempting to suppress the bill argued that African Americans were incapable of being trained, that in battle they would cower from the enemy, and that arming them was tantamount to giving them the means for insurrection. In January 1863Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts was authorized to ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

a U.S.Army soldier in World War II and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edward and Mary (Stuart) Carter. While Carter Sr. was a native of Colorado, his wife Mary was of Anglo-Indian heritage, a native of Calcutta, India. Both of Carter's parents were Christian missionaries, and it would be an understatement to say that his early life was anything but typical for the time. In fact, Carter Jr. at a young age gained a wide perspective of the world; he traveled with his missionary parents to Calcutta in 1925 and spent two years in that country. Sadly, it was a tumultuous time for the Carter family; not only was his father abusive to young Edward, but his mother also left his father, only to die a short time later. Carter Sr. subsequently moved his family to Shanghai in 1927 ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

World War II sailor and Silver Star Medal recipient, was born in Hanna, Oklahoma, the son of Mary Cato. Little recorded information exists on his father. He later graduated from Lincoln High School in Vernon, Oklahoma, where he was a three sport athlete. Upon graduating from school in 1942, Cato worked as a mechanic for a local construction company. His brothers Sachan and Smith were already serving in the army and training as paratroopers when he was drafted for military service in 1943.

After receiving his draft notice, Willmer Cato was inducted into the U.S. Navy in June 1943 at Oklahoma City Oklahoma and subsequently completed his initial recruit training likely at Bainbridge Maryland Like the vast majority of African American men that served in the navy under combat conditions during World War II Cato was assigned to serve in the Steward s Branch This ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean War veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, was born in Eastgulf, Raleigh County, West Virginia, the son of Van Charlton and Clara Thompson. In 1944, at the age of fifteen, Cornelius, called “Connie” by his friends, moved with his family to New York, taking up residence in the Bronx. There he graduated from Monroe High School in 1946. Charlton soon thereafter joined the U.S. Army, serving in an engineering outfit and stationed in Germany as part of the post–World War II occupation forces. Deciding to make a career for himself in the army, Charlton reenlisted in 1950 and was sent overseas to serve in the Korean War.

Charlton s service in the Korean War serves to highlight the black experience in this often forgotten conflict whose combatants seldom receive their proper due The valuable service of black soldiers and sailors in World War II as ...

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Charles Edward Wiles

Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Macon, Georgia, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Gordon N. Davis. Always an active youth Davis enjoyed outdoor activities, fishing in particular. Later, at Macon's Peter G. Appling High School, he played basketball and football, was a member of the school band, and played the clarinet. He graduated on 29 May 1961.

Davis enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 31 August 1961. He reported to U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Training Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, where he was a member of the First Recruit Training Battalion. Upon graduation Davis attended Individual Combat Training at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as a member of the Second Battalion, First Infantry Training Regiment. He completed Individual Combat Training in February 1962 Davis continued his tenure at Camp Lejeune and joined Company K Third Battalion Second Marines Second Marine Division Fleet Marine Force ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

World War II soldier and Distinguished Service Cross recipient, was born in Louisiana, probably New Orleans. Little is known about Dowden's life and family background except that, according to army enlistment records, he achieved a grammar school education.

Leonard Dowden enlisted in the U.S. Army on 27 October 1942 and after completing boot camp training at an unknown locale, was eventually assigned to the 368th Infantry Regiment of the 93rd Infantry Division. The 93rd Division was one of just two divisions in the army to which African Americans were assigned. The first black army division to be activated in World War II, the 93rd was formed in the spring of 1942 and first trained at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The 93rd Division would subsequently undergo further training in Louisiana in 1943, where perhaps Dowden joined his regiment, and later in California. Finally, in January 1944 with the war dragging ...

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John Herschel Barnhill

Black Seminole scout, was born either in Arkansas or in Indian territory west of Arkansas. Nothing is known of his parents or childhood. Sixteen Native Americans won the Medal of Honor for their service in the Indian Wars, as the conflicts between indigenous Native Americans and European settlers and their descendents were known. Four of them, including Factor, a private, were Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts, descendants of the slaves who had found refuge with the Seminoles of Florida during the Seminole Wars of 1817 and 1836 and later migrated to Nacimiento, Mexico, in 1850.

When the Seminoles moved to Texas in 1857 the Black Seminoles remained in Mexico rather than risk being enslaved They adapted their survival skills to the new region and became invaluable scouts serving as militia for Mexico against the Comanche and Lipan Apaches Soon though they were sought after by the segregated U S Army ...

Article

Jeffery Othele Mahan

soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born John Robert Fox in Lebanon, Ohio, the son of well-educated, middle-class parents. Fox was the first of three children. His father passed away while Fox was a teenager. While still in his teens, he grew to admire the military and dreamed of a career in the armed forces. Most interested in math and science, he-planned to attend college. Although Fox's grades were excellent, he was rejected by several universities before being accepted by the all-black Wilberforce University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where he participated in the Reserve Officer Training Corps for four years and graduated in June 1940 with a degree in biology.

Fox joined the U.S. Army in February 1941 completing Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning Georgia where he specialized in rifle and heavy weapons tactics He then entered the ranks of the 366th Infantry Regiment of the Ninety second ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Civil War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Austin, Texas, the son of slaves Jack and Emily Holland. Milton had three known brothers, Toby, William, and James, all part of “the third generation of African-Americans born as slaves” on the Holland Family Plantation run by Bird Holland later the Texas secretary of state Arlington National Cemetery Perhaps because of his light complexion and the fact that he was later freed and sent to school in the North Bird Holland may have been the real father of Milton as well as his brothers William and James a fact speculated upon by some historians Bird Holland would later free Milton William and James and send them north to Ohio in the late 1850s Here Milton Holland attended the Albany Manual Labor Academy an educational institution that accepted blacks and women This school was ...

Article

Frank R. Levstik

William H. Holland was born a slave in Marshall, Texas, the son of Captain Byrd “Bird” Holland, who later became secretary of state of Texas. In the late 1850s, while living in Panola County, Bird purchased William and his two brothers, Milton and James, and sent them to Ohio to attend school just prior to the Civil War. William and Milton attended the Albany Enterprise Academy, one of the early educational institutions in the northern United States that was conceived, owned, and operated by blacks.

On October 22, 1864, Holland enlisted in the Sixteenth U.S. Colored Troops. The regiment, organized in Nashville, Tennessee, included enlistees sent from Ohio. During the war, the regiment participated in the battles of Nashville and Overton Hill, the pursuit of Confederate brigadier general John Bell Hood to his defeat at the Tennessee River and garrison duty in Chattanooga as well as ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

World War II soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Little is known about James's life except for his military service during World War II.

Willy James Jr. enlisted in the U.S. Army on 11 September 1942 and was originally assigned to a noncombat unit, likely a transportation company. When he was sent overseas to Europe is unknown, but in early 1945 he was one of nearly three thousand African American soldiers serving in the European theater that volunteered and were selected for combat duty as infantry replacements. After receiving infantry training in France, Willy James was subsequently assigned to a black platoon of Company G, 413th Infantry Regiment, of the 104th Infantry Division, nicknamed the “Timberwolf Division.”

During World War II over a million black men served in the army mostly in ordnance transportation and quartermaster support units Only a relatively small number ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Vietnam War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Interlachen, Florida, the son of Robert and Willie Mae Jenkins. He graduated from Central Academy High School in nearby Palatka, Florida, the state's first African American high school, in 1967 and joined the military the following year to serve in Vietnam.

Robert Jenkins Jr. enlisted in the Marine Corps on 2 July 1968 at Jacksonville, Florida, and completed his basic training at Parris Island, South Carolina. Assigned for subsequent training at the Marine Corps Expeditionary Forces base at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina, in July 1968, he was assigned to the 3rd Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Marine Division. After his unit was designated for service in Vietnam, Jenkins subsequently became a machine gunner in Company C of the 3rd Recon. Battalion.

During the Vietnam War era over 200 000 African American soldiers served in the U S Army ...