Card 64 recognizes William H. Carney, the first African American to win the Medal of Honor.
Born a slave, Carney escaped to the North via the underground railroad. In February, 1863, Carney enlisted in the second Union regiment of all Black troops — the 54th regiment (the movie Glory was inspired by the story of the 54th regiment). During the regiment’s assault on Fort Wagner, the troop’s flag bearer was killed (along with nearly half of the 600 men who participated in the assault). Carney rushed in and grabbed the flag before it touched the ground. Despite being shot several times, Carney made it back to Union lines to deliver the flag before he collapsed.
Mr. Carney survived his wounds and went on to become one of the first African-American letter carriers.
On a personal note…how much is enough? I have read so many stories lately about slaves and their descendants who risked their lives to help protect, defend, and serve a country that treated them like dirt — all in the hopes of proving that they were Americans worthy of equal treatment, justice, and respect. And time after time, we have accepted their sacrifices and then returned to treating them like dirt. Enough.