Flipper, Henry Ossian

Flipper, Henry Ossian

(1856–1940) soldier, engineer; born in Thomasville, Ga. The son of slave parents, he endured four years of harassment to become, in 1877, the first African-American graduate of West Point. Dismissed in 1882 after a court martial on trumped-up charges involving commissariat funds, he campaigned the rest of his life for reinstatement. He pursued a long and successful civilian career as an engineer; 36 years after his death the army granted him an honorable discharge dated June 30, 1882.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.