Honoring the first African-American Medal of Honor Recipient

Honoring William H. Carney,

the first African-American

Medal of Honor Recipient


William H. Carney, a member of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, was the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor on May 23, 1900, due to his act of valor in July 1863, during the Civil War.

In honor of William H. Carney and his courage, the Spirit of Liberty Foundation has created this historic Limited Edition graphic. The graphic has the U.S. Postal Service Army Medal of Honor Commemorative Stamp, which was issued on Veterans Day, November 11th, 2013, and is postmarked with the special official First Day of Issue Cancellation on that day.

This Limited Edition graphic has been presented appropriately to each of the 44 Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, William Cowan, and Tim Scott the two African American Senators, the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe and William Keating the Massachusetts Congressman from the community that William Carney resided.

Congressman William Keating and the Spirit of Liberty Foundation sponsored a program where students were told about the famed 54th Infantry Regiment, Sgt. William Carney of New Bedford, and his bravery during the Civil War.

Carney’s great-great-great-grandnephew, Carl Cruz, brought with him the original Medal of Honor awarded William Carney. The medal was mounted in a small case and students had the chance to check out a piece of history. The program featured two presentations by students, and remarks by Mayor Jon Mitchell and Congressman William Keating.

The Spirit of Liberty Foundation brought Carl Cruz a rare multi-million dollar original broadside of the Declaration of Independence, a broadside of the historic Emancipation Proclamation Act signed by President Lincoln, and the Foundation’s limited edition graphic honoring William H. Carney.

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