Tag: Veterans Day

HISTORY: Meet Robert Smalls, Boat Captain for Union Navy who Escaped Slavery and Became 1st African-American Elected to U.S. Congress

U.S. Naval Captain and U.S. Congress Member Robert Smalls (photo via Library of Congress)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

On this Veteran’s Day, Good Black News is choosing to honor former Union Navy boat captain and oft-hidden historical figure Robert Smalls of South Carolina.

Robert Smalls was the first black man elected to U.S. Congress during Reconstruction. He was born into slavery in 1839 in Beaufort, S.C., and started his remarkable, implausible journey to national prominence by daring to escape slavery during the Civil War with his family. 

Smalls, like many other enslaved peoples, was made to work for the Confederate forces during the Civil War. Menial labor such as grave digging, cooking, digging trenches, etc. were the most common jobs, but some enslaved peoples were used in skilled labor positions, such as Smalls, who could navigate the waters in and around Charleston, so was used to guide transport ships for the Confederate Navy.

On May 13, 1862, Smalls convinced several other enslaved people to help him commandeer a Confederate transport ship, the CSS Planter, in Charleston harbor. Smalls sailed from Confederate-controlled waters to the U.S. blockade.

By doing so, not only did he gain freedom for himself, several enslaved peoples and members of his family, his example of cunning and bravery helped convince President Abraham Lincoln to accept black soldiers into the U.S. Army and Navy. Check out PBS video about this event below:

Smalls became Captain of the same boat for the Union Navy and helped free enslaved peoples as he fought and outwitted the Confederate Navy several more times during the duration of the War. After the South surrendered, Smalls returned to Beaufort, S.C. and purchased his master’s house, which was seized by the Union in 1863. His master sued to get it back, but lost in court to Smalls. Continue reading “HISTORY: Meet Robert Smalls, Boat Captain for Union Navy who Escaped Slavery and Became 1st African-American Elected to U.S. Congress”

GBN Wishes You and Yours a Happy Veteran’s Day

(image via thehoustonblackpages.com)

To all who are serving, who have served and have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and to your families, thank you. Your lives and efforts are greatly appreciated and of inestimable value to us all. Happy Veteran’s Day!

White House Announces In-State Tuition Rates at all Public Colleges for U.S. Veterans, Families

Obama And Biden Discuss Job Skills Training In Pennsylvania

WASHINGTON, Nov 11 (Reuters) – All recent U.S. military veterans and their families will now be offered in-state tuition rates to public colleges and universities throughout the country, the White House said on Wednesday.

Announced in honor of the U.S. federal holiday Veterans Day, which fell on Wednesday, the change is part of President Barack Obama‘s “steadfast commitment” to military families and aims to make sure veterans can both access and get the most out of higher education, administration officials said.

Officials also announced the launch of a revamped comparison tool to offer veteran-specific admissions statistics, which aims to help applicants better evaluate programs, and a new effort to curb deceptive enrollment tactics used by schools aiming to recruit veterans.

Cecilia Munoz, a top domestic policy adviser to the president, said while Obama is pressing his administration to push these changes forward quickly, he is also calling on Congress to move forward on three pieces of legislation to help improve veterans’ education.

“These pieces of legislation will really ensure that veterans have the opportunities and assistance to … realize the American dream,” Munoz told reporters on a conference call.

One bill would heighten standards for schools receiving G.I. Bill funds, while another would help protect G.I. Bill benefits for veterans whose schools close mid-term. A third, just introduced on Tuesday, would increase regulation of for-profit colleges, many of which target veterans.

“What we think this does is ramp up the accountability” of those schools, Munoz said, adding that it ensures “we are requiring a high-quality education for veterans that have served us well.”

article by Megan Cassella and Sandra Maler via huffingtonpost.com

Obama Honors Military on Veterans Day

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama paid tribute at a Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington Memorial Cemetery to “the heroes over the generations who have served this country of ours with distinction.”  He said the wreath he laid earlier at Tomb of the Unknowns was intended to “remember every service member who has ever worn our nation’s uniform.”

In a speech at the Memorial Amphitheater, he said America will never forget the sacrifice made by its veterans and their families.  “No ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service,” the president said, adding that the country must commit every day “to serving you as well as you’ve served us.”

Continue reading “Obama Honors Military on Veterans Day”