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African Americans

On October 1, 1989, Army General Colin Powell became the first African American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His ascension to the highest uniformed post in the military was a personal triumph for Powell and for all African Americans in the military. It was also the culmination of more than 200 years of effort by Blacks to serve their nation and to be recognized for it. This entry discusses the history of African American men and women in the U.S. military and examines racism and integration in the armed forces and the fluctuating enlistment rates over the years.

Military Service in the 18th and 19th Centuries

The history of African American military participation in the United States is one of the most striking examples ...

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