The 54th massachusetts
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The 54th Massachusetts. January 1, 1863. Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation (frees slaves) Black men throughout the north are encouraged to join the war. Regiment’s leaders. All black army regiments were lead by white officers

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The 54th Massachusetts

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The 54th massachusetts

The 54th Massachusetts


January 1 1863

January 1, 1863

  • Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation (frees slaves)

  • Black men throughout the north are encouraged to join the war


Regiment s leaders

Regiment’s leaders

  • All black army regiments were lead by white officers

  • Colonel Robert Gould Shaw became leader of the 54th Massachusetts in March 1863

  • Recruited men throughout Boston

    • Overwhelming positive response

    • Mainly educated, free black men


Southern reaction

Southern Reaction

  • Jefferson Davis issues proclamation

    • All African American soldiers and any white officer leading them should be punished by death


Tension within regiment

Tension within Regiment

  • Black soldiers were being paid $10 per month

    • Then $3 was withheld for clothing

    • This was NOT withheld from white soldiers

  • Many members of the 54th Massachusetts frequently refused their pay in protest of the inequality


Notable fighting

Notable Fighting

  • Fort Wagner (July 18, 1863)

    • Charleston, SC

    • 272 casualties

    • Colonel Shaw killed in action

    • Union unable to take over the fort


Legacy

Legacy

  • Word of the regiment’s bravery at Fort Wagner inspires black men to join the army

  • Lessens racial tension in the north

  • Colonel Shaw is buried with his men, all black, at Fort Wagner

  • William Harvey Carney awarded Medal of Honor


The 54th massachusetts

  • 1989

  • “Their innocence. Their heritage. Their lives. Nothing would be spared in the fight for their freedom.”

  • Oscars: Best Supporting Actor (Denzel), Best Cinematography, Best Sound

  • Grammys: Best Instrumental Composition for a Motion Picture


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