This Day in Black History: Sept. 25, 1861

This Day in Black History: Sept. 25, 1861

For the first time, the Union Navy admits Blacks to enlist during the Civil War.

Published September 25, 2012

On Sept. 25, 1861, for the first time, the Union Navy allowed Blacks to enlist for service during the Civil War.

Many were former slaves who risked their lives to escape from plantations and fight for the Union. A total of eight African-American sailors were awarded the U.S. Medal of Honor award for their courage in battle.

It wasn't until February 1944 that the Navy commissioned its first African-American officers. Previously, Blacks were barred from the Navy completely or allowed to enlist only as mess cooks.


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Written by Britt Middleton

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