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The 27th United States Colored Troops (USCT), composed largely of free black Ohio men, served in the Union army from April 1864 to September 1865 in Virginia and North Carolina. It was the first time most members of the unit had traveled so far from home.
The men faced daily battles against racism and inferior treatment, training, and supplies. They suffered from the physical difficulties of military life, the horrors of warfare, and homesickness and worried about loved ones left at home without financial support. Yet, their contributions provided a tool that allowed blacks - with little military experience - and their families to demand social acceptance and acknowledgment of their citizenship.
Their service did not end when their enlistment was over. After the men of the 27th returned to Ohio, they and their families sought full access to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and compensatory citizenship rights for their collective sacrifice.
Despite their constant battle against racism, this public behavior benefited the men and their families. It also meant that the African American role in the Union victory remained part of local community remembrance and commemoration. As a result, the experiences of these men from the 27th USCT gave the late 19th-century Ohio black community legitimate hopes for access to equal civil and social rights for all.
The book is published by The Kent State University Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.