Today’s Document from the National Archives

Document for Today, October 23rd:
Letter from Lt. Henry O. Flipper to Representative John A. T. Hull, October 23, 1898


Letter from Lt. Henry O. Flipper to Representative John A. T. Hull, October 23, 1898; Center for Legislative Archives; Records of the U.S. House of Representatives; National Archives and Records Administration (Reproduced with the permission of the U.S. House of Representatives)

Born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia, on March 21, 1856, Henry Ossian Flipper was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1873. Over the next four years he overcame harassment, isolation, and insults to become West Point's first African American graduate and the first African American commissioned officer in the regular U.S. Army.

Later court-martialed and dishonorably discharged, Flipper fought to clear his name, and a bill was introduced in Congress on his behalf. To bolster his case, he sent Congressman John A. T. Hull, chairman of the House Committee on Military Affairs, this letter displayed below along with a brief supporting the bill’s passage. Flipper’s letter to Hull is an eloquent statement asking Congress for "that justice which every American citizen has the right to ask." Flipper died in 1940 without vindication, but he was posthumously granted an honorable discharge and Presidential pardon.
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Report on the Soviet Arms Buildup in Cuba

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United Nations Day

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