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1,918+ Women and Men from California served as US Colored Troops during the US Civil War

by Khubaka, Michael Harris (blackagriculture [at]
Globally, our unique journey from Slavery to Freedom beginning with the 1442 Transatlantic Trade in Human Cargo comes alive 2023 California State Capitol Juneteenth Celebration, in the tradition Lula Briggs Galloway, we carry on...
Booker, Norton Reintroduce Bicameral Legislation to Award Congressional Gold Medal to the 219,000 US Cored Troops who Fought to Preserve the Union and Free themselves and others during n the Civil War

SACRAMENTO, CA - Today, as we prepare to celebrate 2023 Armed Forces Day, we pause and offer strong consideration for U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and U.S. Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) who reintroduced the United States Colored Troops Congressional Gold Medal Act, legislation that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the 219,000 African Americans who fought to preserve the Union during the Civil War.

Since the colonial era, African Americans have served the United States in times of war. Yet, there was resistance to enlisting African Americans to take up arms at the start of the Civil War.

On May 22, 1863, the United States War Department issued General Order Number 143, which established the Bureau of Colored Troops for the recruitment and organization of regiments of the Union Army composed of African American men, called the United States Colored Troops.

During the Civil War, 200,000 Black men served as soldiers in the Army, and another 19,000 Black men served in the Navy. Black women were not allowed to formally enlist as soldiers or sailors. They were, however, allowed to serve as nurses, cooks, spies, and scouts for the Army and the Navy.

“Though often overlooked, hundreds of thousands of African Americans valiantly fought to save the Union during the Civil War, helping end the evil institution of slavery and ensuring the United States would endure,” said Senator Booker. “They served with distinction and honor during incredibly difficult circumstances, including the risk of enslavement and torture if captured. Now more than 150 years after the end of the war, I am proud to reintroduce bicameral legislation with Representative Norton that would award these heroes the Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of their brave and selfless service to our nation.”

"Hundreds of thousands of African Americans who fought for the Union in the Civil War have largely been left out of the nation's historical memory, despite having sacrificed their safety, and in many cases their lives," said Representative Norton. "This bill will help correct that wrong and give the descendants of those soldiers the recognition they deserve.

Thank you to Senator Booker for partnering with me in this effort, and for introducing the Senate version of the bill so early this Congress."

The full text of the bill can be found here.
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