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Americans with African ancestry have served in United States military units since the arrival of the first black slaves in 1619. No war has been fought by the United States in which the African American soldiers did not participate. African Americans fought and served valiantly in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the current War in Iraq.
[[Image:Boston Massacre2.gif|thumb|right|490px|African American Crispus Attucks was the first martyr in the Patriot cause at the Boston Massacre leading up the the American Revolution.]]
=== Revolutionary War ===
In response, and because of manpower shortages, Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776. All-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many were slaves promised freedom for serving in lieu of their masters; another all-black unit came from Haiti with French forces. At least 5,000 black soldiers fought as Revolutionaries.
Peter Salem and Salem Poor are the most noted of the American Patriots during this era.[[Image:Sgt Major Christian Fleetwood.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Sgt. Major Christian Fleetwood, United States Colored Troops (USCT), Medal of Honor recipient, U.S. Civil War.]]
=== Civil War ===
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