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Glenn Allen Knoblock

sailor, was one of eight African American seamen to earn the Medal of Honor during the Civil War. Likely in his early twenties when he enlisted as a landsman (for which he was tasked with the simplest sail-handling and duties like manning the yardarm) in the Union navy from Pennsylvania, Anderson was probably born a free black and, because he was rated a landsman, had little or no prior seafaring experience.

Though few details of Aaron Anderson's military service are known, and virtually nothing of his private life, his exemplary service nonetheless serves to highlight the importance of the African American contribution to the Union navy in what was, up to that time, the nation's bloodiest war. Along with such men as Joachim Pease, Robert Smalls, and John Lawson, Aaron Anderson was one of approximately eighteen thousand African Americans eleven of them women to serve ...

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Charles Edward Wiles

U.S. Marine and Medal of Honor Recipient, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson Sr. Anderson attended and graduated from Carver Elementary School, located in Los Angeles, in 1958. After moving to Compton, he graduated from Willowbrook Junior and Centennial Senior High School. Anderson went on to attend Los Angeles Harbor College for approximately a year and a half.

Anderson left college and enlisted in the U. S. Marine Corps on 17 February 1966. He participated in recruit training with the First Recruit Training Battalion at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California. After graduating from recruit training, Anderson was promoted to Private First Class in August 1966. Transferring to Camp Pendleton, California, Anderson attended infantry training with the Second Battalion of the Second Infantry Training Regiment.

Private Anderson arrived in Vietnam in December of 1966 There ...

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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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Glenn Allen Knoblock

United States Navy enlisted man, Spanish‐American War combatant, and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Brunswick, Virginia. Though nothing is known of his early life, it is likely that he was born to parents who had been formerly enslaved and who gained their freedom during the Civil War years. Perhaps because of his childhood proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the major naval base at Norfolk, Virginia, Daniel Atkins joined the United States Navy around 1886.

The navy that Atkins joined in the 1880s was one in which opportunities for African Americans were steadily declining. In the years between the American Revolution and the close of the Civil War, black sailors served in a variety of shipboard posts, rated anywhere from cabin boy, cook, and steward to such higher positions as able‐bodied seaman and gunner. In 1842 Senator John C. Calhoun attempted to have blacks banned from ...

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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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Marlene L. Daut

Medal of Honor recipient, actor, and playwright, was born in Richmond, Virginia, of unknown parentage. Beaty (sometimes spelled Beatty) was born a slave, but little else is known of his early years or how he came to be free. Beaty left Richmond in 1849 for Cincinnati, where he would spend the majority of his life, and became a farmer. Later, Beaty's education consisted of an apprenticeship to a black cabinetmaker in Cincinnati, as well as a tutelage under James E. Murdock, a retired professional actor and dramatic coach.

On 5 September 1862 Powhatan Beaty along with 706 other African American men was forced to join Cincinnati s Black Brigade after Confederate troops repeatedly threatened the city The Black Brigade was one of the earliest but unofficial African American military units organized during the Civil War but it did not engage in any military action since the city 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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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Medal of Honor winner, was born into slavery in Santee, South Carolina. When war came he was a slave on the Arthur Blake Plantation on the South Santee River, McClellanville, South Carolina, possibly the same plantation on which he was born. The Blake Plantation, one of many rice plantations in the area, was no small affair; according to the 1860 census it had 538 enslaved men and women and was the twelfth largest plantation in the country. When the Union navy invaded the coastal areas of South Carolina, it not only created widespread panic among slave‐holders but also influenced many of those who were enslaved to emancipate themselves and flee to freedom. In May 1862, with the Union navy off the coast of South Carolina, Robert Blake and four others, Prince, Michael, Jack, and Captain Blake fled the Blake Plantation All were picked up by ...

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Glenn Allen Knoblock

Civil War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Burrell Township, Pennsylvania. Little is known about Bronson's life before the war except that he was a barber. Perhaps enthusiastic about getting a chance to fight for the Union cause, he journeyed from Pennsylvania to Delaware, Ohio, to enlist in the 127th Ohio Regiment on 4 July 1863. When he joined, James Bronson was in the vanguard of black service in the army less than two months prior the War Department had created the Bureau of Colored Troops This military agency was created to aid in the establishment of black regiments and the enlistment of both black troops and the white officers who would command them In some cases these regiments were raised entirely under the bureau s guidance However as was the case with Bronson s 127th Ohio Regiment some were raised by individual states and ...

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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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Dalyce Newby

soldier, was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the son of William Carney and Ann, a former slave. Little is known of his parents or of his early years. As a young boy he expressed an interest in the ministry and, at the age of fourteen, 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. In January 1863Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts was permitted to raise a black regiment. Since the black community was relatively small in that state, recruiters turned to enlisting men from other states, using such prominent abolitionists as Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Wendell Phillips as recruiting ...

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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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Glenn Allen Knoblock

sailor and Medal of Honor recipient, was a native of Kingston, Jamaica, who immigrated to America prior to 1877. Little is known of his life before his naval service, except that he resided in Virginia, was there married to his wife Maria, a native of Virginia, in 1877, and that his daughter Emily was subsequently born in 1879.

Like so much else about the life of John Davis, just when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy is uncertain. Though Davis was aboard the screw steamer U.S.S. Trenton when he earned the Medal of Honor in 1881, he was not aboard that ship, the flagship of the navy's European Station, when it departed New York for France in March 1877. John Davis likely enlisted in the navy in Virginia in 1877 about the time he was married and was subsequently assigned duty ...

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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 ...