African-American veterans saluted on Beacon Hill

BOSTON (WWLP) — As part of Black History Month, the State House is paying tribute to African Americans veterans, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

Historians say the origins of African Americans serving in the U.S. Military began here in Massachusetts, with peaceful organization against slavery on Beacon Hill. It cumulated with the outbreak of the Civil War. 

During the war, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which abolished slavery and created pathways for African Americans to serve their country, including the first African American unit, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry.

African-Americans have served the country valiantly in all U.S. wars since then, and continue to do so. According to the U.S. Army website, African Americans serve in the Army at a higher proportion than their representation in the general U.S. population.

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