Happy Memorial Day, everyone. I thought this was a good day to write about the 1989 film Glory, which told the story of the 54th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, one of the first Union Army units made up of African-American soldiers. Matthew Broderick played idealistic Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Morgan Freeman played Sergeant Major John Rawlins. Denzel Washington played Private Silas Tripp, an escaped slave. Andre Braugher played educated Corporal Thomas Searles, a friend of Gould's.
The regiment fought against discrimination by the Union Army during its training and initial deployment to South Carolina. Gould fought for permission for them to fight in the line. After applying a little righteous blackmail, he succeeded. The regiment fought well, and wound up leading the charge against Fort Wagner near Charleston. The attack failed and many in the regiment died, but they removed all doubt that African-Americans could fight.