First African American graduate of West Point


Henry Ossian Flipper, born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia, in 1856, becomes the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York on June 14, 1877. 

The United States Military Academy—the first military school in America—was founded by Congress in 1802 for the purpose of educating and training young men in the theory and practice of military science. Established at West Point, New York, the U.S. Military Academy is often simply known as West Point.

In 1870, the first African American cadet, James Webster Smith, was admitted to West Point but never reached the graduation ceremonies. It was not until 1877 that Henry Ossian Flipper became the first Black cadet to graduate. 

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