Little Known Black History Fact: Black Sailors of the USS Monitor

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Today, a special burial ceremony is being held to honor the two unidentified white soldiers found in the turret of the USS Monitor. Their remains were exhumed with the ship and studied for genealogy. After 40 years of research by the Navy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va., and many others, the unnamed soldier’s remains will be interred with military honors.

Artist Tom Freeman has presented a portrait featuring a black soldier shaking hands with President Abraham Lincoln, an event that has said to have actually occurred aboard the ship. The portrait will be unveiled at today’s ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Special thanks to’s senior political correspondent Michael Cottman for this story. Cottman, a member of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers, will be in attendance with many others for today’s ceremony. He is also working with descendants of an African American crew member who served on the USS Monitor.

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