Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Department

History & Political Science

First Advisor

Kathryn Silva

Abstract

My research project consisted of delving through over nine hundred pension records from the files of fifteen African American soldiers who participated in the Civil War. These documents are comprised of general affidavits, witness statements, physicians' certificates, military enlistment records, marriage certificates, military roll/attendance records, certificates for discharge, and documentation of receipt of or rejection of pension requests. Using these documents I investigated the cases of these soldiers in order to discover why they did or did not receive their military pensions, the length of time the process of attaining their pensions required, and I also explored the stories of the soldiers and their famlies, which were behind each case. Using a combination of my findings and a variety of secondary source materials, this work will illustrate that in addition to their opportunities to receive pension assistance, the livelihood and quality of life of black soldiers and their families after the Civil War were adversely affected by the prejudiced treatment they received from the United States pension system. The primary goal of my research is to add a personal dimension to the statistics from my secondary source materials, which infers that the military pension system was prejudiced against African American soldiers.

Subject Area

United States. Army--African American troops., African American soldiers., Military pensions.

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