Book honors Black National Guard unit
“I am really concerned that the role blacks in the Baltimore area have played in the National Guard has been forgotten,” Diggs said. “I am surprised when we go out to nursing homes and senior centers and talk about this book, I am surprised that many seniors who were born and raised here, whose families have been here for generations, have never heard of the Monumental City Guard.”
Diggs says the story of the Monumental City Guard and the military units it spawned reveals a lot about black patriotism.
Created as an all-black military club in 1879, the Guard apparently was filled with men who had served in the “colored regiments” Maryland mustered to fight in the Civil War, Diggs said. Eager to continue their service, members practiced their soldiering skills and lobbied the Maryland National Guard to drop its whites-only policy.
Following the inspection in 1882, the group officially was accepted as the First Separate Company of the Maryland National Guard. The company was called to active duty in the Spanish-American War and World War II, to provide support services and guard duty at sites in the United States.
In World War I, the company was deployed to Europe, where it was attached to the French army and sent to the front lines. The company earned multiple citations for bravery and distinguished service, including the French Croix de Guerre.
Then on New Year’s Eve 1950, the 726th Transportation Truck
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