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Today in Black History, 10/25/2014

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• October 25, 1893 Joseph Charles Price, founder and first president of Livingston College, died. Price was born February 10, 1854 in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He graduated as class valedictorian from Lincoln University in 1879 and was appointed to the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s delegation to the World Ecumenical Conference in London, England. In London, Price amazed audiences with his powerful speaking and was called “The World’s Orator” by the British press. Over the next year, Price raised $10,000 and returned to North Carolina in 1882 to open Livingston College. Price served as president of the college until his death. In 1890, he was elected president of the National Protective Association and that same year was voted one of the “Ten Greatest Negroes Who Ever Lived.” His biography, “Joseph Charles Price, Educator and Race Leader,” was published in 1943. In 1967, a North Carolina Highway Historical Marker was dedicated in his honor in Elizabeth City.

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Today in Black History, 10/24/2014

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• October 24, 1896 Marjorie Stewart Joyner, inventor of the permanent wave machine, was born in Monterey, Virginia. In 1916, Joyner became the first African American to graduate from the A. B. Molar Beauty School in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating, she went to work for Madam C. J. Walker, overseeing 200 of her beauty schools as the national advisor. On November 27, 1928, she received patent number 1,693,515 for her invention of the permanent wave machine which could be used to curl or straighten hair by wrapping rods above the person’s head and then cooking them to set the hair. This method allowed hair styles to last several days. Because she was working for Walker, her invention was credited to Madam Walker’s company and she received almost no money for it. In 1945, Joyner co-founded the United Beauty School Owners and Teachers Association and in 1973, at the age of 77, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Bethune-Cookman College. Joyner died December 7, 1994.

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Today in Black History, 10/23/2014

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• October 23, 1810 William Alexander Leidesdorff, one of the earliest Black settlers in California and often called the first Black millionaire, was born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands. Leidesdorff left St. Croix when he was 15 for schooling in Denmark and after that went to New Orleans, Louisiana where he worked as a ship captain from 1834 to 1840. In 1841, he moved to California where he launched the first steamboat to operate on San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento River. He also built the first hotel and the first shipping warehouse. In 1844, Leidesdorff became a naturalized Mexican citizen and received a land grant of 35,521 acres. He went on to establish extensive commercial relations throughout Hawaii, Alaska, and Mexican California. When the United States took over California, Leidesdorff was one of three members on the first San Francisco school board and was later elected city treasurer. He also donated the land for the first public school. In 1845, President James K. Polk hired him as the United States Vice Consul to Mexico. Leidesdorff died May 18, 1848. He was one of the wealthiest men in California and on the day of his burial, flags were flown at half-mast, business was suspended, and the schools were closed. When his estate was auctioned in 1856, it was valued at more than $1,445,000. Leidesdorff streets in San Francisco and Folsom, California are named in his honor. His biography, “William Alexander Leidesdorff: First Black Millionaire, American Consul and California Pioneer,” was published in 2005.

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President's Message, October 2014

Posted by Juanita Moore
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Juanita Moore, President & CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African Americ
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When my daughter Shalewa was four years old, I wished for her what any mother wishes for her child – that she have all the opportunities possible to grow up safely and securely, and become a responsible, caring, and accomplished adult. But that’s not all… I also wished for her to be as strong as Harriet Tubman, as conscientious as Sojourner Truth, as eloquent as Frederick Douglass, as idealistic as Abraham Lincoln, and as inspirational as Maya Angelou.

As Shalewa herself would attest, I had high hopes – and standards!

And we should! We should have high standards, the highest standards for our children, so that they may inherit their world with the strength and skills necessary to navigate life. But that means we must also provide them all the opportunities necessary to learn, to grow, to feel safe, and to feel whole.

The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History helps serve this very special constituency in the community. Each and every month, thousands upon thousands of school children from across the region stream through our doors to bear witness to the breadth and depth of the African American experience.

From educational outreach and literacy programs, to health and wellness workshops, this museum performs a range of services and serves an array of purposes in the community. It’s not only a source of pride for our city and region, it helps inspire pride and understanding among our children, and will for generations to come. That is, perhaps, our most important work – to open minds and change lives.

We want every child to feel as strong as Joe Louis, as curious as George Washington Carver, as accomplished as Paul Robeson, as courageous as Rosa Parks, and as committed as Dr. Charles H. Wright.

The Wright Museum and its staff are committed to making these opportunities possible – and possibilities attainable – for all children. Whether you are a first-time visitor or long-time member, thank you for your continued support in helping The Wright Museum help every child to achieve their dreams.

WELCOME A-BOARD!
For our museum, a strong and committed board is vital to the institution’s success. We are pleased to welcome these newest members to our Board of Trustees: Pamela Alexander, director of community development and fund operations, Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services; Rumia Ambrose-Burbank, president, VMS365; Tom Lewand, Sr., group executive for jobs and economic growth, City of Detroit; Suzanne Shank, president & CEO, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.; and S. Gary Spicer, Sr., Law Offices of S. Gary Spicer, Sr. Given the esteemed group these new trustees are joining, we know the museum is in very good hands as we embark upon our 50th anniversary.

 

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Click here to download our October 2014 Member Newsletter

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Today in Black History, 10/22/2014

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• October 22, 1854 James Alan Bland, hall of fame songwriter and musician, was born in Flushing, New York but raised in Washington, D. C. Bland began performing professionally at 14. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Howard University in 1873. Bland toured the United States and Europe, spending 20 years in London, England. While in Europe, he performed for Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales. Bland wrote more than 700 songs, including “In the Evening by the Moonlight,” “O Dem Golden Slippers,” and “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny” which in a slightly modified form was made the official state song of Virginia in 1940. Although Bland made as much as $10,000 per year, he died penniless May 5, 1911 and was buried in an unmarked grave without a funeral. In 1939, his grave was found by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers who landscaped it and erected a monument. Bland was posthumously inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. Housing projects in Flushing and Alexandria, Virginia are named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 10/21/2014

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• October 21, 1864 Alfred B. Hilton, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, died of wounds received at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm during the Civil War. Hilton was born in Harford County, Maryland in 1842. On September 29, 1864, Hilton was serving as a sergeant in the 4th Regiment Colored Infantry when his unit participated in the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm on the outskirts of Richmond, Virginia. During the battle, Hilton carried the American flag as part of the unit’s color guard. As he charged the enemy fortifications, he grabbed the regimental colors from a wounded comrade. When he was seriously wounded, he called out “Boys, save the colors.” Two of his fellow soldiers grabbed the flags before they could touch the ground. On April 6, 1865, Hilton was posthumously awarded the medal, America’s highest military decoration, for his actions during the battle. Sergeant Major Christian Fleetwood and Private Charles Veale, both African Americans, also received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions during the battle.

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Today in Black History, 10/20/2014

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• October 20, 1849 William Washington Browne, educator, minister and businessman, was born enslaved in Habersham County, Georgia. At 15, Browne ran away and joined the Union Army during the Civil War. After the war, he attended school in Wisconsin and then returned to the South in 1869 to teach in Georgia and Alabama. After becoming a Methodist minister in 1876, he urged the formation of groups to pool money and buy land. In 1889, he organized the True Reformers Savings Bank in Richmond, Virginia, the first Black bank in the United States to receive a charter. At its peak in 1907, it took in more than $1 million in deposits. Browne was one of only eight men, including Booker T. Washington, selected to represent African Americans at the Cotton States and International Exposition in 1895. Browne died December 21, 1897 and his funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Richmond’s Black community.

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Today in Black History, 10/19/2014

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• October 19, 1859 Byrd Prillerman, co-founder of West Virginia State College, was born enslaved in Shady Grove, Virginia. After being freed, Prillerman began school at 12 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in 1889 from Knoxville College. He earned his Master of Arts degree from Westminster College in 1894 and his Doctor of Letters degree from Selma University in 1919. In 1891, along with Rev. C. H. Payne, Prillerman secured legislative action to create the West Virginia Colored Institute which opened its doors the following year with Prillerman as the head of the Department of English. He taught in that capacity until 1909 when he was elected president of the institution, a position he held until his retirement in 1919. Prillerman was also one of the organizers, and for many years president, of the West Virginia Teachers’ Association. One of his favorite sayings was “a well painted two-story house owned by a Negro is sharper than a two-edged sword.” Prillerman died April 25, 1929. Byrd Prillerman High School in Amigo, West Virginia is named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 10/18/2014

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• October 18, 1763 John Chavis, minister and educator, was born in North Carolina. Little is known of his early life although it is believed that he worked as an indentured servant. Chavis enlisted in the army during the Revolutionary War and served in the 5th Virginia Regiment for three years. After the war, he took private classes and in 1795 enrolled at the Liberty Hall Academy (now Washington and Lee University). In 1800, he graduated, with high honors, and was granted a license to preach. From 1800 to 1807, he served as a circuit riding missionary ministering to enslaved and free Black people in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. In 1808, Chavis opened a school in his home in Raleigh, North Carolina where he taught White and Black children. His school was one of the best in the state and the children of some of the most prominent White families studied there. After the Nat Turner Rebellion in 1831, North Carolina passed laws that forbade Black people to teach or preach. As a result, Chavis had to close his school and give up preaching. He had to rely on charity until his death June 15, 1838. Chavis Heights Apartments and Chavis Park in Raleigh are named in his honor.

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Today in Black History, 10/17/2014

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• October 17, 1711 Jupiter Hammon, the first African American published writer in America (several years earlier Phyllis Wheatley’s poems had been published in England), was born enslaved in Long Island, New York. Unlike most enslaved people, Hammon was allowed to attend school and could read and write. His first published poem, “An Evening Thought. Salvation by Christ with Penitential Cries,” was published Christmas Day, 1760. On September 24, 1786, he delivered his “Address to the Negroes of the State of New York” in which he stated “If we should ever get to Heaven, we shall find nobody to reproach us for being Black, or for being slaves.” He also said that Black people should maintain their high moral standards precisely because slaves on earth had already secured their place in heaven. Hammon remained enslaved his whole life and died around 1806. Hammon’s story is told in “America’s First Negro Poet: The Complete Works of Jupiter Hammon of Long Island” (1970) and “Jupiter Hammon and the Biblical Beginnings of African American Literature” (1993).

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Today in Black History, 10/16/2014

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• October 16, 1825 William Howard Day, editor, educator and minister, was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. As a young man, Day was apprenticed as a printer. He earned his bachelor’s degree, the only Black student in a class of 50, and Master of Arts degree from Oberlin College in 1847 and 1859, respectively. Day moved to Cleveland, Ohio in 1847 where he edited the Cleveland True Democrat from 1851 to 1853 and published the Aliened American, Cleveland’s first Black newspaper, from 1853 to 1854. He also taught Latin, Greek, mathematics, and rhetoric. Day worked to repeal the Black Laws, chaired the National Convention of Freemen, and helped to organize the Negro Suffrage Society. In 1856, he moved to Buxton, Canada to teach previously enslaved Black people. Day visited England in 1859 where he preached and raised over $35,000 for schools and churches serving Black people in Canada. After returning to the United States, he served as inspector-general of Freedmen’s Bureau schools for four years. In 1878, Day was elected to the Harrisburg school board where he served for six terms, including two years as president. He was ordained a minister of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 1866 and earned his Doctor of Divinity degree from Livingstone College in 1887. Day died December 3, 1900. The William Howard Day Cemetery in Steelton, Pennsylvania and William Howard Day Homes in Harrisburg are named in his honor.

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Fall in Love with Detroit Social Media Photo Contest #313DLove

Posted by Pam Perry
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You love Detroit? Show us!

There’s not many other places in the country where you can truly experience four complete seasons, especially as vividly as you can in Michigan. Arguably, one of the best seasons is Fall—the colors, the apple orchards, the haunted houses, and of course, football! It really is a great time to explore #PureMichigan.

We invite you to play a little game of “Show and Tell” with us! While you’re out and about, put your photography skills to work to share what you LOVE to do in and around Detroit in the fall. Your picture might just win you some great #313Dlove prizes.

313dlove

The process to play is simple:

Step 1: Take a photo of you/your friends doing something fun that represents Metro Detroit in the fall

Step 2: Write whatever caption you like but BE SURE to leave room for #313DLove

Step 3: Share on Instagram (make sure your account is public to be eligible)

We will randomly be sharing our favorite photo of the day on our sites social networks. Then on November 13, we will pick our official winner. In addition to having their photo plastered all over the internet, the winner will walk away with the following prizes:

  • Two tickets to the BIG #313DLove event on March 13, 2015 at the Charles H. Wright Musuem

  • The winning photo will be shared on the big screen during the event

  • Two year-long passes to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African History

  • A limited edition “Love for Detroit” t-shirt

  • A $25 gift card to Real Urban Bar b que (better known as R.U.B. Pub)

  • And something even bigger...we’ll figure that out soon.

Fine print, by submitting your photo and tagging it #313DLove you agree that we may use said photo as part of our movement to change the narrative in, around and about Detroit. Thank you for playing and BEST OF LUCK!

Source: https://www.facebook.com/313DLove



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Today in Black History, 10/15/2014

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• October 15, 1837 Fannie Jackson Coppin, educator and journalist, was born enslaved in Washington, D. C. Coppin’s aunt worked for $6 per month and saved $125 to purchase Coppin’s freedom when she was 12 years old. In 1860, Coppin enrolled at Oberlin College and was the first African American student to be appointed in the college’s preparatory department. While attending Oberlin, she established an evening school for previously enslaved Black people. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1865, she began to teach at the Institute for Colored Youth (now Cheyney University). In 1869, Coppin became principle of the institute, the first African American woman to receive that title. She served in that position until 1906. In addition to teaching, Coppin founded homes for working and poor women and wrote an influential column in the local newspaper that defended the rights of women and Black people. In 1902, Coppin and her husband went to South Africa and founded the Bethel Institute, a missionary school that emphasized self-help programs. Coppin died January 21, 1913. Her book “Reminiscences of School Life, and Hints on Teaching” was published later that year. In 1926, a teacher training school was named the Fannie Jackson Coppin Normal School in her honor. That school is now Coppin State University. Coppin’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 10/14/2014

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• October 14, 1834 Henry Blair, the second African American inventor to receive a United States patent, received patent number 8447 for his invention of the corn seed planter. His invention allowed farmers to plant their corn much faster and with much less labor. The machine also helped with weed control. Not much is known of Blair’s life except that he was born in Montgomery County, Maryland in 1807 and he could not read or write. On August 31, 1836, Blair received another patent for the invention of the cotton planter. This machine was similar to the corn seed planter in the way it was put together. Blair died in 1860.

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Today in Black History, 10/13/2014

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• October 13, 1825 John Sweat Rock, teacher, doctor, dentist, lawyer and abolitionist, was born in Salem, New Jersey. Rock taught school in New Jersey from 1844 to 1848 and while teaching, studied medicine. In 1850, he opened a dental practice and in 1852 graduated from American Medical College. In 1851, he received a silver medal for the creation of an improved variety of artificial teeth. Rock was a passionate abolitionist and civil rights leader and was known as one of the most brilliant speakers in the anti-slavery movement. In 1860, Rock gave up his dental and medical practices and began to study law. He gained admittance to the Massachusetts Bar in 1861 and in 1865 became the first Black person admitted to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. In 1863, Rock helped assemble the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the first officilally recognized African American unit in the Union Army during the Civil War. Rock died December 3, 1866.

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Today in Black History, 10/12/2014

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• October 12, 1882 John Preston “Pete” Hill, hall of fame Negro league baseball player and manager, was born in Culpeper, Virginia. Hill played in the Negro leagues from 1899 to 1925 and was considered the most important member of three of the most talented teams to ever play. He was also considered the most consistent hitter of his time, retiring with a career batting average of .326. From 1919 to 1921, Hill was player/manager of the Detroit Stars. His final position in professional baseball was as field manager for the Baltimore Black Sox. In 1930, Hill moved to Buffalo, New York to work as a railroad porter. He died December 19, 1951. Hill was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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Today in Black History, 10/11/2014

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• October 11, 1778 George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower, violinist and composer, was born in Biala, Poland. A child prodigy, Bridgetower made his debut as a soloist in 1789 to rave reviews. In 1791, the Prince of Wales took an interest in him and made Bridgetower first violinist of his private orchestra, a position Bridgetower held for 14 years. In 1802, Bridgetower met and performed with Ludwig von Beethoven who described Bridgetower as “an absolute master of his instrument.” Their relationship is dramatized in Rita Dove’s book “Sonata Mulattica” (2009). Bridgetower was elected to the Royal Society of Musicians in 1807 and earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Cambridge in 1811. Bridgetower’s compositions include “Diatonica armonica” and “Henry: A Ballad.” He taught piano and performed throughout Europe. Bridgetower died February 29, 1860. A jazz opera, “Bridgetower – A Fable of 1807,” was commissioned for the 2007 City of London Festival to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the first parliamentary bill to abolish slavery in England.

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Today in Black History, 10/10/2014

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• October 10, 1800 Gabriel (also known as Gabriel Prosser) was executed for planning a large slave rebellion in the Richmond, Virginia area in the summer of 1800. Gabriel was born enslaved around 1776 in Henrico County, Virginia. He was taught to read and write and worked as a blacksmith. Prior to executing the planned revolt, Gabriel was betrayed and eventually captured, put on trial, and hung with his two brothers and 23 other enslaved men. In reaction to the planned rebellion, Virginia and other states passed restrictions on free Black people and prohibited the education, assembly, and hiring out of enslaved people in order to restrict their chances to learn and plan similar rebellions. In 2002, the City of Richmond passed a resolution in honor of Gabriel and in 2007 the Governor of Virginia gave Gabriel and his followers an informal pardon in recognition that their cause “the end of slavery and the furtherance of equality for people has prevailed in the light of history .” “Gabriel’s Rebellion: The Virginia Slave Conspiracies of 1800 & 1802” was published in 1993.

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Today in Black History, 10/9/2014

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• October 9, 1806 Benjamin Banneker, astronomer, surveyor and almanac author, died. Banneker was born November 9, 1731 in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. When he was old enough to help on his parent’s farm, his formal education ended. In 1753, he carved a wooden clock that struck hourly, using a pocket watch as a model, and continued to work until his death. He began to study astronomy using borrowed books and equipment in 1788. In 1791, Banneker was hired to assist in the survey of what is now the District of Columbia, however due to illness he only worked on the project for three months. Banneker made astronomical calculations that predicted solar and lunar eclipses that he included in a series of almanacs from 1792 to 1797. The almanacs included the times for the rising and setting of the sun and moon and were commercially successful. Banneker expressed his views on slavery and racial equality, including a plea for justice for African Americans, in a 1791 letter to the United States Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson. The complete correspondence between the two can be found by doing a search on “Benjamin Banneker letter to Thomas Jefferson.” His biography, “The Life of Benjamin Banneker: The First African-American Man of Science,” was published in 1972. In 1977, a commemorative obelisk was erected near his grave site by the Maryland Bicentennial Commission and the State Commission on Afro-American History and Culture. In 1980, the United States Postal Service issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor and in 1998 the Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum located on the site of his former farm was dedicated. Banneker’s name is enshrined in the Ring of Genealogy at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan.

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Today in Black History, 10/8/2014

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• October 8, 1837 Powhatan Beaty, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, was born enslaved in Richmond, Virginia. Beaty gained his freedom around 1861 and in 1863 enlisted in the Union Army’s 5th United States Colored Infantry Regiment. By 1864, he had risen to the rank of first sergeant. On September 29, 1864 at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm, his regiment unsuccessfully attempted to attack the Confederate defenses at New Market Heights. During the regiment’s retreat, their color bearer was killed. Beaty returned under enemy fire to retrieve the flag. Only 16 of the original 91 members of the regiment, including Beaty, survived the attack unwounded. With no officers remaining, Beaty took command of the company and led a second attack against the Confederate lines. That attack was successful and drove the Confederates from their fortified positions. For his actions, Beaty was awarded the medal, America’ highest military decoration, April 6, 1865. By the time he retired from the army, Beaty had participated in 13 battles and numerous skirmishes. After retiring, he returned to Cincinnati, Ohio and successfully pursued a career in acting and public speaking until his death December 6, 1916. In 2003, an Ohio Historical Marker was unveiled in his honor at his burial site in the Union Baptist Cemetery in Cincinnati.

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