Most African American researchers know that thousands of men of color served in the
armies of the North and South during the Civil War, but few realize that a significant
number of them were members of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an
organization consisting of veterans of the conflict. Some belonged to posts in their area
that were almost completely white, while all-black posts can be found in many major
Recently Dennis Northcott & Thomas Brooks began the publication of a series of books
which list the "death rolls" from many of the posts. Books for GAR organizations in
Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska are now in print, with a combined total of
over 650 USCT soldier entries.
The entries from the GAR books are being extracted into a database, along with other
information on African American GAR members and posts, gleaned from newspapers
In October of 2006, I presented a paper, "African Americans and the Grand Army of the
Republic in Illinois", at the 8th annual conference on Illinois history held in Springfield.
You can read a copy of it by clicking here.
I am interested in hearing from anyone who has an ancestor who was a GAR member.
African Americans in the GAR
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