The Colored Cadet at West Point An Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, U.S. A, First Graduate of Color from the U.S. Military Academy.
Born a slave in Thomasville, Georgia, Henry Ossian Flipper (1856–1940) became the first African-American to graduate from the United States Military Academy. The Colored Cadet was written one year after his graduation:
“Flipper (1856-1940) was not the first black at West Point, but he was [its first graduate] the first to stay until he received an Army commission. He took part later in the Indian Wars of the Southwest, was accused of embezzlement in 1882, and though acquitted, was given a dishonorable discharge. Flipper became a prominent civil engineer and in the 1920’s was an assistant to the Secretary of the Interior. In 1978, after his discharge was finally changed to honorable, he was reinterred with full military honors.”¹
Flipper’s 1873 appointment raised an outcry and he experienced tremendous abuse at West Point which he documents within. Still, by the final page of his book, Flipper praises his professors and officers at the school he met during his cadetship, ending the book on a positive note, with Flipper expressing gratefulness.The book’s frontispiece shows Flipper in uniform, poised and assured.
Description: The Colored Cadet at West Point An Autobiography of Lieut. Henry Ossian Flipper, U.S. A, First Graduate of Color from the U.S. Military Academy.
New York: Homer Lee & Co., 1878. Frontis, [1–7], 322pp. First edition. 12mo. Bound in gilt lettered and ornamented burgundy cloth (several colors are known; no priority is known). Personal bookplate; rubber stamp of “The Association For The Study of Negro Life & History.” Lacking portrait of Flipper in his West Point dress uniform, opposite p.238. Losses to top third and heel of spine replaced with cloth toned in a sympathetic color, yet retaining part of original gilt decoration; both hinges weakened and with evidence of old, inexpert repairs; one signature separated; a fair copy of a scarce-to-commerce Black autobiography.
Work p401. Note. 1. Blockson, Afro-Americana Exhibition 114. DANB.