Military & Exploration

Daniel “Chappie” James

Sep 12th, 2011 | By
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1920-1978  Daniel “Chappie” James dedicated his life to an extraordinary career in the U.S. Air Force. Over the course of three wars, in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, he completed more than 160 combat missions as a fighter pilot. In recognition of his achievements, he received the honor of being the first African American in America’s
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Henry Ossian Flipper

Sep 4th, 2011 | By
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1856-1940  Henry Ossian Flipper was the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After an unwarranted dishonorable discharge from the Army, he enjoyed a long, distinguished career as a mining engineer, legal authority, and author. Breaking Ground at West Point Flipper was born in Thomasville, Georgia, on March 21,
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J.R. Clifford

Aug 13th, 2011 | By
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1848-1933  John Robert Clifford published the leading African American newspaper of its era, and as the first black attorney admitted to the West Virginia state bar, he won a trailblazing victory in Williams v. Board of Education that found discriminatory practices in public education illegal. Studies in Chicago Clifford was born in Williamsport, Virginia, in
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Mark Matthews

Aug 9th, 2011 | By
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1894-2005  Mark Matthews first enlisted in the U.S. military at the age of 15, became one of the original “Buffalo Soldiers,” and served his country with distinction through numerous conflicts and wars, and racial segregation in the armed forces. Born to Ride Matthews was born in Greenville, Alabama, on August 7, 1894. His family moved
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Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

Jul 15th, 2011 | By
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1877-1970  Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. dedicated his entire life and career to the military, beginning at a time when African Americans were consigned to support service roles with no command authority over whites. He rose to the rank of full General, advised the Army on integration strategies, and in the process contributed to the dismantling
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Jim Beckwourth

Jul 13th, 2011 | By
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1798-1866 James Pierson Beckwourth was the only African American pioneer to record his exploits in the early days of the western frontier. He was involved in major events from Canada to Mexico and Florida to California, where he discovered the Beckwourth Pass through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Like his better-known contemporaries Daniel Boone, Kit Carson,
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Salem Poor

Jun 26th, 2011 | By
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1750?-?  Salem Poor was a distinguished military hero who fought valiantly in the American Revolution.  This courageous African American made a significant contribution to the struggle to create an independent United States of America.  But in a sad commentary on the plight of Blacks of that time, he was unable to enjoy any fitting recognition
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Ronald McNair

May 31st, 2011 | By
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1950-1986  Ronald McNair was a physicist specializing in advanced laser technology, and an astronaut who flew on the fourth Space Shuttle mission in 1984. During his second flight two years later, he was one of seven astronauts tragically killed when the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated. A Passion for Science McNair was born on October 21,
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Doris Miller

May 22nd, 2011 | By
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1919-1943  During a short-lived but distinguished Navy career, Doris “Dorie” Miller, with limited training and on his own volition, fought at Pearl Harbor against attacking Japanese planes with anti-aircraft guns to defend his ship and his country. Farm to Sea Miller was born in 1919 in Waco, Texas, the third of four sons of sharecroppers
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Bessie Coleman

Jun 11th, 2010 | By
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1892 – 1926  Bessie Coleman overcame an early life of hardship to become the first African American to earn an international pilot’s license, and the first Black woman to fly an airplane.  The symbolic power of her achievement made her an iconic figure for African Americans in the early 20th century and an inspiration for
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