Who was Lieutenant Flipper? Was he Martyr or Myth?

Lt_Flipper_1· 19th Century: Lt Flipper was dismissed from the U.S. Army.

· 20th Century: Flipper was pardoned by President Clinton.

· 21st Century: Flipper’s “poor treatment” is called a myth.

Henry O. Flipper was not the first African American admitted to the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. However, in 1877, Flipper became the first African American to graduate from West Point. Flipper was commissioned as a second lieutenant and assigned to the Tenth Regiment of United States Cavalry (Buffalo Soldiers) at Fort Sill, Indian Territory.

In 1880, Lieutenant Flipper again distinguished himself in the war against Warm Springs Apache Chief Victorio. A year later, twenty-five year old Flipper was tried for embezzlement of government funds. He was dismissed from the army 30 June 1882.

A new one-act play, “Lieutenant Flipper’s Trial” by Bob Rogers, dramatizes the fateful 1881 trial of Lieutenant Flipper. Was Flipper persecuted before he was prosecuted? Did Flipper destroy his career? Was he sabotaged? Was there a conspiracy? Was he dealt with fairly? See the play. You decide.

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About the Play

Premiering at Baltimore’s prestigious Enoch Pratt Free Library during African American History Month, the play dramatizes Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper’s 1881 court-martial and draws audiences into the controversy about whether Flipper was treated fairly before, during, and after the trial.  The voices of Flipper, the prosecutor, defense attorney, and new Buffalo Soldier music carry the play.

¨ The play casts Bob Rogers as Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper.

Bob Rogers

Bob Rogers

¨ KenYatta Rogers is the voice of Captains John W. Clous and Merritt L. Barber.

¨ KenYatta Rogers directs the play.

KenYatta

KenYatta

¨ Theme music:  “Ballad of the Buffalo Soldier” is by Charley Waco/Buffalo Soldier.

Charley Waco

Charley Waco

 

 

 

 

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Book the Play for your stage or classroom.

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The Play’s Bibliography

 

________ Trial Transcript: U.S. v. Second   Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper US National Park Service Fort Davis 1881
________ Second Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper US National Park Service Fort Davis 2013
________ Lieutenant Henry O. Flipper US Army Center of Military History Washington 2011
Black, Lowell D and Sara H. An Officer and A Gentleman The Lora Company Dayton 1985
Cusic, Don The Trials of Henry Flipper, First   Black Graduate of West Point McFarland Jefferson 2008
Dinges, Bruce E. Interview re: Henry O. Flipper   Documents and Publications Arizona State Historical Society Tucson 2013
Harris, Theodore D. Flipper, Henry Ossian Oklahoma Historical Society Oklahoma City 2007
Harris, Theodore D. (Editor) Black Frontiersman: The Memoirs of   Henry O. Flipper Texas Christian University Press Fort Worth 1997
Henry O. Flipper The Colored Cadet at West Point University of Nebraska Press Lincoln 1878/1998
Robinson, Charles M. III The Court-Martial of Lieutenant   Henry Flipper Texas Western Press El Paso 1994
Robinson, Charles M. III The Fall of a Black Army Officer:   Racism and the Myth of Henry O. Flipper University of Oklahoma   Press Norman 2008
Phillips, Thomas D. Interview re: Flipper’s Military   Records and Appeals, author: The Black Regulars University of Oklahoma   Press Norman 2013/2001
Stein, Daniel A. Film: The Trial of the Moke Broadway Theatre   Archive New York 1978
Snead, G. Robert Play/Film: Held in Trust KCOS PBS and Warner   Bros. El Paso 1996
Johnson, Barry C. Flipper’s Dismissal: The Ruin of   Lt. Henry O. Flipper, U.S.A., First Coloured Graduate of West Point English Westerners   Society London 1980

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