African Americans Contribute to Civil War Medicine

It is the day on which we remember Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., one of the greatest Civil Rights leaders who ever lived.  It’s impossible to think about Dr. King without also thinking about slavery and how hard our country has worked to create a just society.  Thank you, Dr. King, and all who have stood up for equality.

Exhibit highlights African-American contributions to Civil War medicine
Originally published January 11, 2011

By Brian Englar
News-Post Staff

Nearly 100 years before Rosa Parks stood up against discrimination by refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus, Maj. Alexander T. Augusta took a similar stand in Washington, D.C.

Augusta, one of 13 black surgeons to serve during the Civil War, was in uniform and on his way to testify at a court martial when he was removed from a street car for refusing to stand up front with the driver, as was required of African-Americans, forcing him to walk to the hearing in the rain.

In another instance, Augusta was attacked by a group of young white men for wearing his uniform on a train in Baltimore.

But the incidents didn’t deter Augusta. “… my position as an officer of the United States, entitles me to wear the insignia of my office, and if I am either afraid or ashamed to wear them, anywhere, I am not fit to hold my commission,” Augusta wrote in a letter to The Christian Recorder, an African-American newspaper.

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