The Present

Seven Blacks Finally Gain Recognition

Blacks began winning Medals of Honor during the Civil War and since then until World War II; however of the 300 awarded none of them were black. In 1993, Shaw University conducted a study of Medal of Honor recipients and focused on the racial disparity in the Army. The study resulted in the recommendation to consider ten black soldiers for the Medal of Honor, and seven were ultimately recommended to receive the award. In 1996, Congress passed the legislation which allowed the President to award the Medals of Honor. On January 13th, 1997 President Bill Clinton would present six of the medals to families of the deceased men, and one soldier, 1LT Vernon Baker was able to be present to receive his medal. Read more about each man's bravery and action in the Medal of Honor section. One of the recipient's body, SSG Edward Carter, was exhumed and moved to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

The three variations of the Medal of Honor today


  • General Benjamin O. Davis' (the first black Army General) son, Benjamin Davis, Jr. became a three-star General (In the Air Force)
  • Roscoe Robinson, Jr., a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy  at West Point, became the first black four-star General in the Army
  • Hazel W. Johnson became the first black woman General in the Army in 1979
  • Colin L. Powell became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989, the highest military position in the United States
  • The Army has continued to led the services in the number of black officers with almost double the percentage at times
  • Pentagon Data (2009):
          -5.6% of the 923 general Officers or Admirals are black
          -Eight blacks are three-star Lieutenant Generals or Vice Admirals
          -17 are two-star Major Generals or Rear Admirals
          -26 are one-star Brigadier Generals or Rear Admirals
          -Three of the black Brigadier Generals are women