155 years ago, Cathay Williams disguised herself as a man so she could enlist with the 38th Infantry in the 13th Army Corps. This #BlackHistoryMonth, I'm thinking about her trailblazing service.
Williams was born to an enslaved mother and free father in 1844. She became the first and only documented woman to join the Buffalo Soldiers, a group of African-American soldiers who mainly served on the Western frontier following the Civil War.
After she discharged in 1868, it would not be until 1917 that another woman would formally enlist. To learn more about Williams and other African-American "firsts" in @USArmy history, visit: army.mil/article/16455/….

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More from @SecDef

17 Feb
As we continue to confront COVID-19 during #BlackHistoryMonth, I’m reminded of Brigadier General Hazel Johnson-Brown, the first African-American woman to earn the rank of General in the @USArmy, and the first African-American Chief of the @ArmyNurseCorps.
Joining the @USArmy just after President Truman banned segregation and discrimination in 1948, she started as an operating room nurse. She then traveled across the U.S. and abroad, working her way up the ranks and furthering her education.
In 1979, she made history as the Chief of the @ArmyNurseCorps, and in the process, the first African-American woman General in the history of the U.S. Military Services. She was also the first ANC Chief with an earned doctorate and first African-American woman to hold the post.
Read 4 tweets
9 Feb
It’s difficult to think about #BlackHistoryMonth without thinking about Jackie Robinson. Beyond his contributions to baseball, Robinson also broke race barriers in the military.
He was first drafted and assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit in Fort Riley, Kansas. In January 1943, Robinson was commissioned a second lieutenant, and later assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, where he joined the 761st "Black Panthers" tank battalion.
On July 6, 1944, Robinson boarded an Army bus. The driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus, but Robinson refused. The driver called the military police, who took Robinson into custody. He was subsequently court martialed, but was later acquitted.
Read 4 tweets

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