Black History Month: Role of African Americans at Fort Fisher

FORT FISHER, NC (WECT) - Today marks the last last day of Black History Month.

On WECT News First at Four, we took a look at the role African Americans played in the history of Fort Fisher.

Historical Interpreter John Moseley joined us to give us a history lesson.

Moseley said African Americans have been a part in the history of Fort Fisher from the Civil War to World War II.

In 1965, Bruce Anderson, an African American, enlisted in an all-white regiment and was later awarded the Medal of Honor for actions at Fort Fisher.

Many from a unit called the United States Colored Troops (USCT) killed during the Wilmington Campaign from January 1865 to February 1865 would be moved from temporary cemeteries and reburied at Wilmington National Cemetery.

Decades later, Americans faced a new war and Fort Fisher was called upon to be a part of the Coast Artillery and Anti-Aircraft training.

One of the first units to arrive at Fort Fisher was the 54th Coast Artillery Regiment. Formed in 1941, the unit was comprised of African-Americans from the mid-West.

It was at Fort Fisher, the men of the 54th Coast Artillery could take classroom learning and put it to practical use on targets.

Eventually, the Regiment was sent to San Francisco to guard against a possible invasion by the Japanese.

By October 1942, the 2nd Battalion, was ordered to quickly ship out to the Southwestern Pacific Theater of Operations leaving the 1st and 3rd Battalions on coastal defense in California.

The men of the 54th Coast Artillery accomplished their job and many of the men settled along the California coast they protected.

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