1944 : Charles Leroy Thomas, First African-American to Win Distinguished Cross

December 14, 2018 all-day

Photo of Charles Leroy Thomas courtesy of wikipedia

Detroiter Charles Leroy Thomas earns the Distinguished Cross, the highest military honor not requiring congressional approval; he is the first African-American soldier to be so honored.

In 1995 the Pentagon convened a group who decided that Thomas and seven other African-American soldiers deserved to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. 17 years after his passing, Thomas received that honor posthumously from President William Jefferson Clinton. His niece received it on his behalf. He became the fourteenth Michigan veteran to receive the medal, a medal that he would have received fifty years previously had it not been for the discriminatory treatment that African Americans received during that era.

Sources :

Detroit African American History Project

Charles Leroy Thomas wikipedia entry

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