"Who was the first African American to win the Congressional Medal of Honor? Claims have been made for several soldiers. Some claim that Private Wanton won this honor in the Spanish American War. But Buffalo Soldiers won a Medal of Honor before that in the Indian Wars. Others make the Claim for Sergeant William Carney.
William Carney was born in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He was a member of Company C, 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry. On July 18, 1863, during the Battle of Fort Wagner, South Carolina, which involved the all-Black 54th and 55th Massachusetts Colored Regiments, Commander Robert G. Shaw was shot down. A few feet from where he fell laid Sergeant Carney. Summoning all of his strength, Carney held aloft the colors and continued the charge. Having been shot several times, he kept the colors flying high, and miraculously retreated his regiments. Although he made it out alive, many of his comrades did not. For in the deadly battle, over 1,500 Black troops died. On this day in 1900, Sergeant William H. Carney was issued the Congressional Medal of Honor; some say this made him the first Black to ever win the coveted award. It should be noted that sixteen other Black soldiers and four Black sailors eventually received the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroics during the tragic epic in American history."
God bless you and Keep on Keepin' on!
Sources for this article – www.medalofhonor.com