- historical event:
- At that time, there was still strong racial segregation in the southern U.S. For example, “colored” people were not allowed to sit in the front half of a bus.
On this day the U.S. Army received its first African American general in its history. This was an event of great historical significance, especially since there was still strong racial segregation in the southern U.S. For example, “colored” people were not allowed to sit in the front half of a bus.
The first African American general was Benjamin O. Davis, born in Washington D.C. He joined the Army as a volunteer, and became an officer at the age of 24. After serving in the cavalry, he lectured military science and tactics at university. He worked as a university professor for a long time, until he was assigned the command of a U.S. Army regiment in 1938.
On this day in 1940, Benjamin O. Davis was promoted to Brigadier General. He was assigned the command of the 4th Brigade of the 2nd U.S. Cavalry Division. During World War II, Davis worked as the assistant of the U.S. Army Inspector General. He also served in Europe during the war.
Davis was retired after 50 years of military service. He was buried at the famous Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. Interestingly, his son also became a general. He had the same name as his father, and became the first African American general in the U.S. Air Force, eventually achieving the rank of Four-star general (his father was a One-star general).
The father is pictured to the left, while his son is on the right.