First African-American Graduated From West Point 140 Years Ago This Week
Henry Ossian Flipper was born a slave only to later become the first African-American to graduate from West Point on June 14, 1887 and he deserves to be celebrated for the path of his military career was not an easy one.
Though West Point is notoriously a difficult school to be accepted into it is certainly a diverse school. Men and women from all over the country attend the academy in hoped to be an officer in the United States Army. However, it wasn't always so diverse.
According to History.com, Henry Ossian Flipper was born into slavery in 1856 in the state of Georgia. Flipper was not the first black man to attend West Point. In 1870, James Webster Smith was accepted to West Point but never made it to graduation.
Flipper's time in the academy was not an easy one. He was often ignored and rejected by his white classmates and other officers at the school.
After graduation, Flipper went on to become a 2nd Lieutenant with the African American 10th Cavalry at Fort Sill also known as the Buffalo Soldiers.
Flipper was later accused of stealing of embezzling military funds. Despite being found not guilty he was still dishonorably discharged.
President Clinton pardoned Flipper in 1999.
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