I have caused thee to see it
with thine eyes,
but thou shalt not go over thither.
? ? ? ? ? Deuteronomy 34:4
The Proclamation of Emancipation gave the military authority to enlist "Such persons of suitable condition?into the armed service of the United States" and the Bureau of Colored Troops was established. Many African-Americans served with distinction.
Despite the promise and participation, African-Americans, in many instances, would continue to be denied their rightful place. Reconstruction fostered a racist attitude, creating the "Jim Crow" laws designed to cheat them of their birthright. With the 1960s and the civil rights movement, African-Americans gained greater standing in American society and on August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave us a vision of what the future could bring.
When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last; free at last: thank God almighty, we are free at last."
We, as a nation, still seek for all the dream that is America?and the struggle continues. Perhaps over the next hilltop lies the "Promised Land."
Once let the black man put upon his person the brass letters ?US,' let him get an eagle on his button and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket and there is no power on earth that can deny that he earned the right to citizenship in the United States. ? ? ? ? ? Frederick Douglass
A large number of males from the freedmen's colonies served with distinction during the conflict. By the war's end 178,985 would wear the "Union Blue" and 37,300 would make the ultimate sacrifice. The US Colored Troops included 21 recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor - our country's highest award.