Items tagged African-American Soldiers (23 total)

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In 1778, General George Washington was approached with an interesting proposal from Lt. Col. John Laurens of South Carolina. The war in the southern colonies was going badly, in part because of a shortage of troops. Laurens's solution was to raise a black regiment by enlisting slaves who would be given their freedom in exchange for fighting against…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1779

South Carolina planter and merchant, Henry Laurens was one of the richest men in colonial America. He amassed a fortune through buying and selling African slaves. Before the American Revolution, over 40% of Africans who survived transport to the British colonies passed through South Carolina. Despite Laurens's close involvement in the slave trade,…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1776

In this letter, John Laurens asks his father, South Carolina slaveowner Henry Laurens, to give him several slaves in lieu of his inheritance, so that he can arm them to fight in the Continental army.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1778

John F. Shorter, an African-American solider writing on behalf of his fellow members of the Massachusetts 55th Regiment, addresses President Lincoln over the issue of unfair pay. Shorter charges that he and his fellow soldiers have received no pay after more than a year of service, that they have been offered only seven dollars a month (slightly…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1864

Although over a million African-American men and women served during World War II, they continued to experience discrimination in the armed forces. In addition to being relegated to segregated combat units, often in service-and-supply capacities, black soldiers found that on-base facilities such as officer's clubs and theaters were strictly…

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1944

In this activity students read three letters written by African-American soldiers during the Civil War to determine why black soldiers felt compelled to join the Union Army.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2009

In 1925, seven years after the end of World War I, the Army War College undertook a study to evaluate the fitness of black soldiers for service in a future war. The study's recommendations emphasized the importance of white officers and strict segregation of black troops; it was generally dubious about the prospects of black soldiers serving…

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1925

In the testimony that follows, a general tells Congress how contraband slaves served his army and had a dramatic impact on the way Union soldiers thought about slavery and freedom.

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Item Type: Government Document
Date: 1862

This stereograph (an early form of the 3-D image) showing three Union soldiers with "contraband" was produced and sold by the E. & H. T. Anthony & Co. company of New York sometime between 1861 and 1865. "Contraband" was the term used to describe escaped slaves who fled behind Union Army lines for safety. The three young African-American men…

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Item Type: Photograph
Date: Circa 1861

This 1864 poster was used to recruit African-American soldiers for the 20th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment based in New York state. The poster offers the lure of an up-front payment of $375 plus an additional $10 for anyone signing up, but likely more persuasive was the sentiment borne by the stern-looking eagle: "Who would be…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: Circa 1864