First Black receives Congressional Medal of Honor

Sgt. Wm. Carney
Sat, 1863-07-18

On this date in 1863, the first Black soldier received America's Congressional Medal of Honor.

Sergeant William H. Carney was the recipient because of his bravery in action during the Civil War. Carney, a member of the 54th Massachusetts Colored infantry, was wounded twice during the charge on Fort Wagner, S.C., while rescuing the Union Flag.

After making it through the barrage of bullets and delivering the flag he shouted, “The Old Flag never touched the ground.”

The African American Desk Reference
Schomburg Center for research in Black Culture
Copyright 1999 The Stonesong Press Inc. and
The New York Public Library, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Pub.
ISBN 0-471-23924-0

To Have a Military Career