Hagerstown in Washington County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
African Americans and the Medal of Honor
The first act of valor by an African-American serviceman to earn the Medal of Honor occurred on July 18, 1863, during the Civil War. Sergeant William H. Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment took his place in history in the Battle of Fort Wagner, South Carolina. His Medal of Honor citation reads; "When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded." He was later quoted as saying "Boys! he old flag never touched the ground!"
From the inception of the Medal in 1861 until 2020, Medals of Honor have been awarded 90 times to African-American servicemen. The majority of these Medals of Honor were earned for acts of bravery in the Civil War, the various conflicts with Native-American tribes in the West and in the Viet Nam War. As of 2020, the most recent award was presented in 2014 by President Barack Obama to Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris; one of the original "Green Berets." At Chi Lang, Viet Nam on September 17, 1969, Sergeant Morris
Of these 90 awards to African-American recipients, eight are credited to servicemen from Maryland.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • War, US Civil • War, Vietnam • Wars, US Indian. In addition, it is included in the Former U.S. Presidents: #44 Barack Obama, and the Medal of Honor Recipients series lists. A significant historical date for this entry is July 18, 1863.
Location. 39° 38.996′ N, 77° 43.047′ W. Marker is in Hagerstown, Maryland, in Washington County. Marker is at the intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue and Jonathan Street, on the right when traveling north on Pennsylvania Avenue. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 464 Jonathan St, Hagerstown MD 21740, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Corporal William Othello Wilson (here, next to this marker); Buffalo Soldiers (here, next to this marker); United States Colored Troops (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Hagerstonians in the Civil War (approx. 0.2 miles away); 468 North Potomac Street (approx. 0.2 miles away); 474 North Potomac StreetHagerstonians in the Civil War (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Hagerstonians in the Civil War (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Hagerstown.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 11, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 99 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 11, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.