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This Day in Black History: July 18, 1863

This Day in Black History: July 18, 1863

William Carney rescued the Union Flag on July 18, 1863, and later became the first African-American to receive the Medal of Honor.

Published July 18, 2013

(Photo: Library of Congress)

Sgt. William Harvey Carney’s bravery during the American Civil War’s Battle of Fort Wagner in South Carolina on July 18, 1863, was recognized with the Medal of Honor.

While serving as a member of the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry during the Battle of Fort Wagner, Carney was wounded twice while rescuing the Union Flag. Then after making it through the fray, he shouted, “The Old Flag never touched the ground.”

On May 23, 1900, he became the first African-American recipient of the award, 37 years after the battle.

Carney was born a slave in Norfolk, Virginia, on Feb. 29, 1840, but he was able to escape through the Underground Railroad and reunite with his father living in Massachusetts

He died on December 8, 1908 in Boston.

 


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Written by LaToya Bowlah

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