The Colored Cadet at West Point: Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, U.S.A., First Graduate of Color from the U.S. Military Academy

The Colored Cadet at West Point: Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, U.S.A., First Graduate of Color from the U.S. Military Academy

The Colored Cadet at West Point: Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, U.S.A., First Graduate of Color from the U.S. Military Academy

The Colored Cadet at West Point: Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, U.S.A., First Graduate of Color from the U.S. Military Academy

Synopsis

Henry Ossian Flipper was one of the 19th-century West's most remarkable individuals and the first African American graduate of West Point. Although Flipper's record of accomplishment was significant, he was court-martialed and dismissed from the service in 1882. This is Flipper's own account of his career, along with a biographical essay by Quintard Taylor Jr.

Excerpt

Henry Ossian Flipper (1856-1940) emerged as one of the late-nineteenth-century West's most remarkable individuals. He considered his life's primary achievements to be his distinction as the first African American graduate of West Point and his subsequent four years as a cavalry officer. Following his court-martial and dismissal from the U.S. Army in 1882 for "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman," Flipper spent over half a century in a vain attempt to restore his name and honor. Yet Flipper's postmilitary years, which were all but ignored in many accounts of his life, are equally exceptional and reflect a level of achievement that would have been impossible had he remained in the U.S. Army. the list of his accomplishments, many of them firsts for an African American, is impressive by any standard and period. During his postarmy years Flipper was a surveyor, cartographer, civil and mining engineer, interpreter, translator, historian, inventor, newspaper editor, special agent for the Justice Department, deputy U.S. mineral surveyor, aide to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and consultant to the secretary of the interior, as well as executive for various mining and oil companies. His work carried him to northern Mexico, Venezuela, and Spain and ensured the success of some of the nation's first multinational corporations. Flipper's enormous talents allowed him to confront and surmount numerous barriers in an era when American racism was palpably apparent.

Flipper, however, was no racial crusader and thus did . . .

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