Senators Benjamin L. Cardin and
Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD)andtoday introduced a resolution to honor the life and service of Chaplain Henry Vinton Plummer. Chaplain Plummer was a former slave from Maryland who became the first African-American Chaplain in the U.S. Regular Army. The resolution was passed by unanimous consent.
“I am extremely pleased that the Senate has corrected a terrible injustice by unanimously passing a resolution honoring the life and service of Chaplain Henry Plummer,” said
Senator Cardin. “As the first African-American Chaplain in the U.S. Army, Chaplain Plummer was dishonorably discharged from the Army due to racial hatred and intolerance. Now, the true facts will be known: that Chaplain Plummer, a former slave, served his country with honor and we owe him our appreciation.”
“Henry Plummer faced injustice throughout his entire life, but he never gave up,”
Senator Mikulski said. “He fought honorably for his country even when he wasn’t treated with honor. No matter what the situation, he persevered. I am proud the Senate has come together to pass this resolution honoring his memory. I am honored to be able to honor him.”
Chaplain Plummer was born into slavery in Prince George’s County, Md. At age 17, he escaped and went to serve in the U.S Navy during the Civil War. Honorably discharged in 1856, he left the service and went to seminary. After founding the St. Paul Baptist Church, which is still located in Prince George’s County today, he chose once again to serve his country and became the first African-American chaplain in the U.S. Regular Army.
Chaplain Plummer served with the Ninth Cavalry for 10 years until he was dishonorably discharged under racially-tinged circumstances. It wasn’t until 2005, after the tireless work of the Committee to Clear Chaplain Henry Vinton Plummer, that this horrible wrong was righted and Chaplain Plummer’s discharge was reversed and changed to honorable.
A link to the full text of the resolution is available