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Black Men: Military Service and Leadership



President Lincoln did not want Black men on the battlefield, but he later included language in the Emancipation Proclamation allowing them to enlist. Generations later, African Americans continue to serve the nation and have attained the highest-ranking military positions. In this oral history recording, NMAAHC Founding Director and the current Secretary of the Smithsonian Lonnie Bunch interviews retired four-star General Colin Powell, the first Black chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who speaks about his life and military service.