Sunday, October 13, 2013

Native Hawaiians in the U.S. Civil War

Thanks to all the great news regarding underrepresented minority scholarships opening their doors to Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, we haven't had as much space as usual to blog about news and commentary on America's growing Pacific Islander community. Last month, I really wanted to share an interesting column on Native Hawaiian participation in the U.S. Civil War.

While Hawaii is now the 50th State, at the time of the U.S. Civil War it was an independent constitutional monarchy located thousands of miles away from the American battlefields. Nonetheless, the author (a professor at the University of Hawaii at Hilo) showed that Hawaii's people, including its indigenous people,  played a notable role.

Considering the confusion over how Pacific Islanders for into America's larger racial classification system, it was interesting to read about how some Native Hawaiians fighting in the U.S. Civil War were segregated into the "colored" units, while others fought in the White units. (I've pasted one of the paragraphs about that below my signature line.) I was also reminded of other posts we've written regarding the high levels of U.S. military service among Pacific Islanders.

In my opinion, it's definitely worth a read. See more here: LINK

And please let us know if you've seen any other stories on Pacific Islanders in the U.S. Civil War!


Here's an except that caught my attention:

However, unlike the white Armstrong, native Hawaiians who fought for the Union risked segregation because of their skin color. One volunteer, Prince Romerson, served in the Fifth Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry, an all-black regiment, and mustered out as a sergeant. Exceptions did occur, though: Henry Hoolulu Pitman, son of the Hawaiian Chiefess Kinoole O Liliha, was a private in the 22nd Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a white regiment, who was captured and died in Richmond’s Libby Prison.

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