Support our mission
 
A voucher of payment to former slave Pvt. Prince Simbo, for services rendered during the Revolutionary War. The voucher, dated 1783, is for 13 pounds and 15 shillings. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017.
A voucher of payment to former slave Pvt. Prince Simbo, for services rendered during the Revolutionary War. The voucher, dated 1783, is for 13 pounds and 15 shillings. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
A voucher of payment to former slave Pvt. Prince Simbo, for services rendered during the Revolutionary War. The voucher, dated 1783, is for 13 pounds and 15 shillings. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017.
A voucher of payment to former slave Pvt. Prince Simbo, for services rendered during the Revolutionary War. The voucher, dated 1783, is for 13 pounds and 15 shillings. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
An outside view of the Washington Monument at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This window is in the Medal of Honor section.
An outside view of the Washington Monument at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This window is in the Medal of Honor section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This is the Medal of Honor section.
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This is the Medal of Honor section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. Shown here are profiles in the Medal of Honor section.
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. Shown here are profiles in the Medal of Honor section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
A letter written by then-Lt. Samuel M. Bruce, a Tuskegee Airman, on July 4, 1943, that mention two pilots who were missing: Lt. Sherman White Jr. and Lt. James McCullin. Neither returned from a July 2 mission and would later be identified as the first black pilots killed. Bruce was killed in action over a year later, on Jan. 27, 1944. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017.
A letter written by then-Lt. Samuel M. Bruce, a Tuskegee Airman, on July 4, 1943, that mention two pilots who were missing: Lt. Sherman White Jr. and Lt. James McCullin. Neither returned from a July 2 mission and would later be identified as the first black pilots killed. Bruce was killed in action over a year later, on Jan. 27, 1944. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
Muhammad Ali's gloves are on display near the military section. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017.
Muhammad Ali's gloves are on display near the military section. An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This is a World War I recruiting poster encouraging black men to enlist.
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This is a World War I recruiting poster encouraging black men to enlist. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This sculpture is by John Rogers and was crafted during the Civil War.
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This sculpture is by John Rogers and was crafted during the Civil War. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017.
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This is the Medal of Honor section.
An inside look at the military section at the National Museum of African American History in Washington, D.C., on March 28, 2017. This is the Medal of Honor section. (Meredith Tibbetts/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — The new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture highlights hundreds of personal stories of tragedy, suffering and courage, but some of the bravest heroes are recognized in the section about military history.

In a corner of the museum, with the Washington Monument visible through the windows, sunshine lights the portraits of black Medal of Honor recipients and the descriptions of their heroic acts. In the middle of the gallery is a single, glass-enclosed Medal of Honor.

The area’s simple design gives ample time to take in the stories of the men who have earned the nation’s highest military award. More portraits will be added to honor future recipients.

Artifacts in the military section range from then-Gen. Colin Powell’s uniform to Purple Hearts and the stories behind them. There’s a letter written by then-Lt. Samuel M. Bruce, a Tuskegee Airman, on July 4, 1943, that mention two pilots who were missing: Lt. Sherman White Jr. and Lt. James McCullin. Neither returned from a July 2 mission and would later be identified as the first black pilots killed. Bruce was killed in action over a year later, on Jan. 27, 1944.

There’s a voucher of payment to former slave Pvt. Prince Simbo, for services rendered during the Revolutionary War. The voucher, dated 1783, is for 13 pounds and 15 shillings.

The military section, a walk from the earliest days of American military history to the present, is a treasure trove of information and artifacts on people who fought for their country even as their country failed to treat them equally.

tibbetts.meredith@stripes.com Twitter: @mjtibbs

hardy.ken-yon@stripes.com Twitter:@KenYonHardy

Migrated
twitter Email

stars and stripes videos

around the web

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up