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World War II Victory service medal awarded to Lorenzo DuFau

Spotlight on African American Military Heroes

As the National Museum of African American History and Culture celebrates Veterans Day on November 11th, we'll be focusing attention on the often forgotten sacrifices and contributions of African American patriots. These heroes include the men of the USS Mason, which made history during World War II as our nation's first ship manned by a predominantly black crew. Launched on November 17, 1943, the Evarts-class destroyer escort carried an enlisted crew of 160 serving under Lt. Commander William M. Blackford and five other white officers. Prior to the Mason, black men in the Navy had been limited to support roles such as cooks, stewards and laborers, and even had to wear different uniforms than those worn by other sailors.
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Doris "Dorrie" Miller

December 7, 1941 Heroes

Sixty-eight years ago today, Doris "Dorie" Miller was stationed at Pearl Harbor on the battleship USS West Virginia. As an African American serving his nation in 1941, that meant serving in a segregated Navy.
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Wounded colored soldiers at Aikens Landing photographed between 1862 and 1865.

A Segregated Military: Indian Wars, Spanish-American War and World War I

African American service from the American Revolution to the Civil War helped secure freedom and citizenship, but not equality. They served in a segregated military that reflected the racial prejudice and exclusion of society at large.
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Photographic print of Korean War Veteran, Edward T. Taylor 1952

The Bronze Stars of Korean War Veteran Edward Theodore Taylor

I reflect on the 600,000+ African Americans who served in Korea and on those who received medals for their valor in this nation’s first desegregated war. I then celebrate in my mind my six decades of engagement in civil rights and public education that followed my return home from Korea. I learned the hard way that service in the U. S. military did not guarantee an African American full citizenship, that the struggle for respect and equality had to be fought on numerous other fronts, and that this battle would remain ongoing.
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Photograph of H.C. Carter

Captain Hannibal C. Carter: Businessman, Civil War Officer, Reconstruction Politician, Freedom Fighter

The life of abolitionist, politician, and war veteran Hannibal C. Carter (1835-1904) was filled with both promise and daunting challenge during a radically transformative period in American History. Despite being born during the time of slavery, his parents, George Washington Carter and Ann Hill Carter, were business owners and prominent members of a free Black community in New Albany, Indiana.
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Power of Place

Re-claiming and Re-valuing History

To mark the centennial anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, NMAAHC has created the Tulsa Collections Portal offering greater access to the museum’s objects, documents, period film and dozens of hours of survivor’s memories.
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Power of Place

Testimony as Literature

Born in 1879, the civil rights lawyer Buck Colbert (B.C.) Franklin moved from the all-Black Oklahoma town of Rentiesville to Tulsa in 1921. He set up his law practice in Greenwood. His wife and children (including 6-year-old John Hope Franklin, the preeminent historian and founding chair of NMAAHC’s Scholarly Advisory Committee) planned to join him at the end of May.
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Power of Place

Reconstructing the Dreamland

Anita Williams Christopher laid out some of her father William D. Williams’ collection of materials related to the massacre on the top of an old desk that had belonged to her grandparents, John Wesley and Loula Mae Williams, proprietors of the Dreamland Theatre, one of Greenwood’s most iconic and prosperous institutions.
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Power of Place

Coins as Metaphor

George Monroe was almost five years old on May 31, 1921, when his world was set on fire.
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