"Photograph of a color guard of black children holding flags and a wreath at the entrance to the Lincoln Memorial., 02/12/1947"
Abbie Rowe, photographer. From the series: Photographs Relating to the Administration, Family, and Personal Life of Harry S. Truman
Photo from a ceremony commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s birthday at the Lincoln Memorial in 1947.
On January 18, 1966 Robert C. Weaver became the first African American Cabinet member when he was sworn in United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Secretary Weaver was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson five days earlier on January 13, 1966.
Photograph of Swearing In of Robert C. Weaver as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 01/18/1966
Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. [Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking.], 08/28/1963
Rowland Scherman, photographer. From the Records of the U.S. Information Agency
See all our previous Martin Luther King, Jr. posts, and the recent series from the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
In 1940, as the U.S. Government prepared for possible American involvement in the war that was raging in Europe, the U.S. military braced for a large number of casualties. In June 1940, the Surgeons General of the Army and Navy asked the American Red Cross and the National Research Council to find a way to stockpile massive blood reserves that could be used by the armed forces in the event of war. The American Red Cross called upon the leading experts in the field of blood collection and preservation, including Dr. Charles R. Drew, who had taught at Howard University’s College of Medicine. The project Dr. Drew supervised paved the way for a national blood program that operated throughout World War II, providing 13 million pints of blood and plasma to wounded U.S. soldiers.
Store for Freedmen
Union troops successfully occupied the area around Beaufort, South Carolina, in 1862. Even though the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, or Freedman’s Bureau, was not created until March 3, 1865, Union victories along the coast offered newly freed slaves support from the Federal Government. This photograph, taken by Sam A. Cooley on December 18, 1864, shows a store for freedmen in Beaufort.
Photograph of Store for Freedmen in Beaufort, South Carolina, 12/13/1864
Art of Housekeeping
Oney Cunningham, a girl of only 9 years old, was entered into this indenture agreement with Alexander Cunningham to be an apprentice to learn the art of housekeeping. The Freedmen’s Bureau supervised indenture and apprenticeship agreements. Under these contracts, black school-age, orphaned, and destitute children were bound to former owners as laborers.
Indenture Agreement of Alexander Cunningham, 11/21/1865
Louis Armstrong Registers for the Draft
Future jazz great Louis Armstrong of New Orleans was among nearly 24 million men aged 18–45 who registered for the draft during 1917–18, a requirement of the new Selective Service System. Notice that his first name is recorded incorrectly as Lewis. And while his date of birth was recorded as July 4, 1900, Armstrong was actually born on August 4, 1901.
World War I Draft Registration Card for Louis Armstrong, 09/12/1918; from the series: Draft Registration Cards 1917-1918
"In checking with the Special Service Branch I was told there were no openings for Colored Officers in that field, I request to be retired from the services and be placed on reserve as I feel I can’t be of more service to the government doing defense work rather than being on limited duty with an outfit that is already better than 100% over strength in officers."
Request from Jack “Jackie” R. Robinson to the Adjutant General for Retirement from Active Duty, 08/25/1944
Only weeks earlier, Lt. Jack R. Robinson had been court-martialed at Camp Hood, Texas, because he refused to move to the back of the bus after being told to do so by a bus driver and disobeying an order from a superior officer. Robinson was acquitted of all charges and ultimately received an honorable discharge.
Wedding while at war
"Chaplain William T. Green reads the benediction at the marriage ceremony of Pfc. Florence A. Collins, a WAC of the 6888th Postal Directory Battalion, to Cpl. William A. Johnson of the 1696th Labor Supervision Co. This is the first Negro marriage to be performed in the European Theater of Operations.” 08/19/1945
Wherever you are, you can attend our virtual Genealogy Fair!
Join us September 3 and 4 for expert speakers from the National Archives and a chance to ask your questions through a live chat box on our Ustream channel.
You can also tweet your questions to @usnatarchives #genfair2013.
We’ll be discussing Native American and African American history, immigration, Civil War pensions, U.S. Colored Troops, and Navy Deck logs.
Details here: http://go.usa.gov/j7hQ
Chow on the Battlefield
"Private First Class Clarence Whitmore, voice radio operator, 24th Infantry Regiment, reads the latest news while enjoying chow during lull in battle, near Sangju, Korea., 08/09/1950"
"…the presence of Alabama National Guardsmen was required on the University of Alabama campus to carry out the final and unequivocal order of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Alabama. That order called for the admission of two clearly qualified young Alabama residents who happened to have been born Negro."
Draft of the President John F. Kennedy’s civil rights speech on June 11, 1963, written by Theodore S. Sorensen with notes by Robert F. Kennedy, following Alabama Governor George Wallace’s refusal to admit two African American applicants to the University of Alabama, James Hood and Vivian Malone Jones.
Click to see the full draft as well as the final speech, which was delivered by the President nationwide on radio and television.
From May 22 to 31, the digital collection of the USCT Service Records will be free on www.Fold3.com.
On May 22, 1863, the War Department issued General Orders 143, establishing a Bureau of Colored Troops in the Adjutant General’s Office to recruit and organize African American soldiers to fight for the Union Army. With this order, all African American regiments were designated as United States Colored Troops (USCT).
Today marks the 150th anniversary of the USCT, and the National Archives is pleased to announce the completion of the USCT Service Records Digitization Project. In partnership with Fold3, the project provides online access to all service records—more than 3.8 million images—of Union volunteers in USCT units.
Remember: All National Archives collections on Fold3.com can always be viewed for free at a computer at any National Archives facility nationwide.
The photo and paperwork above come from the compiled military service records of former slave Edmund Delaney. Read his story on the Prologue blog.