Profiles of Bravery

Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Sr.

1940: First black general officer in the regular Army and the U.S. Armed Forces

Benjamin Davis

Davis entered the service during the war with Spain as a temporary first lieutenant of the 8th U.S. Volunteer Infantry. In 1899, he was discharged from the service. In June of the same year, he enlisted again, this time as a private in the 9th Cavalry. He then served as corporal and squadron sergeant major, and on Feb. 2, 1901, he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Cavalry. Davis served as an inspector for the Inspector General and later as a special investigator for the Secretary of War's Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies. His investigations of discrimination and racial disturbances brought to light the problems of a racially closed military.

Center of Military History: Benjamin Oliver Davis Sr.. Go back to profiles