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"Henry Ossian Flipper" - Dale Gallon

"A...Sad Day To Us..."

Issued: April 2000 Public Edition: 950 Image Size: 15 3/4" x 31 1/2" Framed Size: 26" x 42"

Unframed Price: $200.00 - low inventory

For my latest release I decided to paint one of the most noteworthy "Buffalo Soldiers" of the nineteenth century, Henry Ossian Flipper. Born a slave in 1856, he was appointed to the United States Military Academy from the state of Georgia in 1873. Because of the color of his skin, Flipper was shunned by the rest of the cadets during his stay at the school. He later remarked, "There was no society for me to enjoy-no friends, male or female, for me to visit, or with whom I could have any social intercourse, so absolute was my isolationism." This silent treatment sought only, however, to strengthen Flipper's will to complete his studies. In 1877, he was the first African American to graduate from West Point since the school opened its doors in 1802. Today, Flipper's dogged determination, dedication, and perseverance are remembered at his alma mater in the form of a cadet scholarship named in his honor and given annually to a cadet who triumphs over difficult circumstances by demonstrating leadership and self discipline.

After his graduation, Flipper was commissioned a subaltern in the 10th Cavalry Regiment where he served with distinction for almost five years, until he was tried and convicted by an army court-martial board for charges preferred against because of his race. He was dismissed from service in 1882. Over a century later President William Clinton finally pardoned Flipper in 1999. Despite his dismissal from the army, Flipper became a successful civil and mining engineer both in the United States and Mexico, earning a stellar reputation in his chosen profession on both sides the border. Dying at age eighty-four in 1940, Henry Flipper set a standard of achievement to be followed by generations of Americans regardless of race. His life was a true testimonial to the power of the human spirit.

 

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