The black men of the Civil War were America’s original ‘dreamers’Roundup
tags: Civil War, military history, African American history, immigration
Colbert I. King is a Washington Post columnist.
Today, a wall looms large in my thoughts. It isn’t the structure President Trump has in mind for our southern border. I’m thinking of the Wall of Honor at the African American Civil War Memorial, located at Vermont Avenue and U Street NW.
Listed on the wall are the names of 209,145 U.S. Colored Troops who fought during the Civil War. One of those names is that of Isaiah King, my great-grandfather.
I think of those courageous black men as America’s original “dreamers.”
Today’s dreamers are in their teens and 20s, having arrived in this country as children. King’s generation of dreamers were former slaves or descendants of slaves brought to these shores against their will.
However, the black men who fought in the Civil War had the same status as today’s dreamers: noncitizens without a discernable path to citizenship.
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