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Immortal Valor

Immortal Valor

The Black Medal of Honor Winners of World War II

by Robert Child

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The remarkable story of the seven African American soldiers ultimately awarded the WWII Medal of Honor, and the 50-year campaign, to deny them their recognition.
In 1945, when Congress began reviewing the record of the most conspicuous acts of courage by American soldiers during WWII, they recommended awarding the Medal of Honor to 432 recipients.

Of those nearly 500 candidates and a total of more than one million African-Americans who served, not a single black soldier received the Medal of Honor. The omission remained on the record for over four decades.

In 1993, the U.S. Army commissioned a research team at Shaw University in Raleigh, NC, to investigate the discrepancy and explore deserving black service members' records. The investigation uncovered seven incidents of uncommon valor that merited the Medal of Honor and, in turn, brought to light long-standing racial discrimination within the government to deny African-Americans their country's highest military honor.

1997, more than half a century after the war, President Clinton finally awarded the Medal of Honor to seven black Americans in a ceremony at the White House.
These are their stories.

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