Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Henry O. Flipper 1st Black Graduate of West Point

henry o flipper 2d lieut 10th cavyHenry Ossian Flipper was an American soldier, former slave, and the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1877, earning a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the US Army. Following Flipper's commission, he was transferred to one of the all-black regiments serving in the US Army which were historically led by white officers. Assigned to A Troop under the command of Captain Nicholas M. Nolan, he became the 1st nonwhite officer to lead buffalo soldiers of the 10th Cavalry. Flipper served with competency and distinction during the Apache Wars and the Victorio Campaign, but was haunted by rumors alleging improprieties. At one point, he was court martialed and dismissed from the US Army.                                                                                                In 1994, his descendants applied to the US military for a review of Flipper's court martial and dismissal. A review found the conviction and punishment were "unduly harsh and unjust" and recommended Flipper’s dismissal to be changed to a good conduct discharge. Shortly afterwards, an application for pardon was filed with the Secretary of the Army, which was forwarded to the Department of Justice. President Bill Clinton pardoned Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper on 19 February 1999.                  
First Black West Point Graduate Honored With Bust at Fort LeavenworthWest Point photo by Jack & Chris Hadley on a special visit there.

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