As America’s Civil War raged, with the enslavement of millions of people hanging in the balance, African Americans didn’t just sit on the sidelines. Whether enslaved, escaped or born free, many sought to actively affect the outcome.
All war is horrific, but some aspects of war are more horrific than others. The death toll of Syria’s civil war was estimated last winter at 470,000, each a singular tragedy. Yet it’s often particular weapons, used on particular targets, that cause international condemnation. When the State Department announced on Monday that the United States was suspending efforts to work with Russia on a ceasefire in Syria, the State Department listed in particular the targeting of civilians and aid convoys as the reason for the halt.
On November 15, 1866, Cathay Williams became the first African-American female to enlist and serve in the United States Army. She went by the name “William Cathay” as it shows on the application above.