The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., is shedding light on the unsung stories of Black people who served in the military through a new exhibition, WWLP-22News reported.
As part of its military exhibit, the institution is capturing the narratives surrounding African American men and women who risked their lives to fight for our country and what their families had to endure. The museum is working with “Gold Star” families—the loved ones of military members who died while serving—in an effort to bring the stories of these soldiers to the forefront.
Amongst the individuals featured in the exhibit is Medal of Honor recipient Cornelius Charlton who died while in combat during the Korean War. His medal and a photo of his family are included in the exhibition. The exhibit gives museumgoers the opportunity to learn more about the racial barriers that existed within the military; detailing how although Black soldiers fought for democracy and equality they weren’t even seen as equals in their own country. The Armed Forces weren’t integrated until 1948.
The exhibit takes visitors on a journey through time by highlighting the stories of those who died fighting in 20th-century wars as well as those who perished in the Iraq war following the September 11 terrorist attacks. A part of the exhibit delves into the story of Emily Perez; a Black and Latina woman who was the highest-ranking woman of color at West Point and the first person to die from her graduating class while fighting in Iraq.
“She was killed by an IED, improvised explosive device, while leading a convoy,” museum curator Krewasky Salter said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “We use this story so people will know that today men and women are dying in combat, which is one of the reasons we want to make sure the gallery is inclusive.”
Black soldiers are finally starting to get credit for the contributions that they made towards fighting for our country. Last year, eleven Black soldiers who were tortured and killed at the hands of Nazis during World War II finally received recognition for their bravery and were awarded by the U.S. government.