“this Nation Never Saw A Black Man Before’

With the current wave of interest in black history, authentic Negro heroes have been eagerly sought in the American past. It has been hard going, since the disposition of the white majority from colonial times until rather recently was to prevent blacks from playing any role that could possibly be viewed as heroic, and to ignore the exceptions that failed to conform to majority prejudices. And indeed, where a black man’s historical reputation has overcome all this, it has sometimes been in despite of honest historical evidence.Read more »

“Black Jack” Of The 10th

A Negro cavalry regiment was John J. Pershing’s “home” in the service. From it came his nickname, and he never lost his affection for—or failed to champion—the valorous colored troopers he led.

If there is a military stereotype in United States history, it must closely resemble the public impression of John J. Pershing, who was accorded the highest possible rank—General of the Armies—after commanding the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. “Brass hat” was written all over him: the jutting jaw, the cold, direct gaze, the bluntly authoritarian manner, the stiff back and square shoulders. Most people believed that his sobriquet “Black Jack” was bestowed because of the forcefulness of his character.

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