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Henry O. Flipper Collection
0.5 linear feet
Henry Ossian Flipper (b. 1856 d. 1940) was a solider, engineer, and author. Born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, Henry and his family received their freedom as a result of the Civil War. Subsequently, the family settled in Atlanta where they prospered. Henry Flipper attended Atlanta University 1872 -1873. In 1873 he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. Although not the first Negro to attend West Point, in 1877 he became the first graduate. Upon graduation, Flipper was assigned to the all-Negro 10th Cavalry Regiment and served at several forts in Oklahoma and Texas. While at Fort Davis, Texas in a general court-martial on November 4, 1881, Flipper was accused of embezzling funds. He was cleared of this charge, but found guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentlemen, and dismissed from the Army June 30, 1882. Flipper went on to become a successful engineer working in the Western U.S., Mexico, and Venezuela. He subsequently served in several government positions as a special agent, translator, and interpreter. In 1919 Flipper served as an assistant to the Secretary of the Interior. Flipper was also a writer, publishing three books and a few articles in journals and newspapers. His autobiography, The Colored Cadet at West Point, was published in 1878. His memoirs were posthumously published in 1963, Negro Frontiersman: The Western Memoirs of Henry O. Flipper (edited by Theodore D. Harris.) Flipper also authored two books of law, Mexico Laws, Statutes (1892) and Venezuela Laws, Statutes (1925.) Throughout his adult life, Flipper tried to clear his name from the court-martial and efforts continued after his death. Finally, in 1976 the Army exonerated Flipper and awarded him an honorable discharge.
This small collection on Henry O. Flipper is primarily comprised of materials gathered in the planning for a commemorative ceremony honoring Flipper and recognizing his exoneration. The ceremony was sponsored jointly by Atlanta University and the Atlanta Branch of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History. The most significant item in this collection is a typed manuscript entitled "Biographical Sketches". This typescript is the memoir published in Negro Frontiersman: The Western Memoirs of Henry O. Flipper. Other materials in the collection include newsclippings about Flipper (most after his death) and copies of letters and resolutions written in the effort to exonerate him. There are programs and news articles related to events posthumously honoring Flipper after his exoneration.