The Colored Cadet at West Point

Read by James K. White

(4.7 stars; 16 reviews)

Henry Ossian Flipper--born into slavery in Thomasville, Georgia on March 21, 1856--did not learn to read and write until just before the end of the Civil War. Once the war had ended, Flipper attended several schools showing a great aptitude for knowledge. During his freshman year at Atlanta University he applied for admittance to the United States National Military Academy at West Point. He was appointed to the academy in 1873 along with a fellow African American, John W. Williams. Cadet Williams was later dismissed for academic deficiencies.

Flipper and Williams were not the first African Americans to attend West Point, however. Two others came before them: James Webster Smith in July of 1870, and Henry Alonzo Napier in 1871. Cadets Napier and Smith were eventually dismissed for academic deficiencies.

In 1876, Johnson Chestnut Whittaker another African American, was admitted to the academy. But one day he was discovered beaten, bound and unconscious in his room. An investigation was conducted by a lengthy courts martial; however, this proceeding--tainted by racism--determined that Whittaker’s injuries were "self-inflicted" and that he had tied himself up. Secretary of War, Robert Todd Lincoln, later declared the court martial invalid, but this did nothing to save Cadet Whittaker's career as he was preemptively dismissed from the academy because of academic deficiencies.

Henry Ossian Flipper graduated from West Point as a Second Lieutenant in June of 1877 earning his place in history as the first African American to do so. No other men of color would accomplish the same for another decade. His first permanent duty assignment was to the famed 10th Calvalry Regiment.

Since the academy’s founding on March 16, 1802, it had been known for the “rigorous hazing” which all cadets had to endure. But certainly no cadet ever had to endure the open hostility and brutality experienced by those first African Americans to join the Corp of Cadets. The pain, humiliation and sacrifices that Flipper and others suffered then made the burden just a little easier for subsequent generations. (Introduction by James K. White) (10 hr 32 min)


Preface & Chapter I 21:52 Read by James K. White
Chapter II 32:51 Read by James K. White
Chapter III 42:01 Read by James K. White
Chapter IV 16:46 Read by James K. White
Chapter V 28:35 Read by James K. White
Chapter VI 23:51 Read by James K. White
Chapter VII 11:20 Read by James K. White
Chapter VIII 9:35 Read by James K. White
Chapter IX 6:28 Read by James K. White
Chapter X (part 1) 32:27 Read by James K. White
Chapter X (part 2) 34:22 Read by James K. White
Chapter X (part 3) 26:26 Read by James K. White
Chapter XI 39:41 Read by James K. White
Chapter XII 37:05 Read by James K. White
Chapter XIII 7:34 Read by James K. White
Chapter XIV 52:07 Read by James K. White
Chapter XV (part 1) 38:48 Read by James K. White
Chapter XV (part 2) 29:12 Read by James K. White
Chapter XV (part 3) 54:19 Read by James K. White
Chapter XVII (part 1) 54:18 Read by James K. White
Chapter XVII (part 2) 33:05 Read by James K. White


Good Historical Perspective

(4 stars)

This is the story of the first cadet of color to graduate from West Point. The story is quite good although I wish the author would have given more details about what he faced. He spends a lot of time explaining military terms. He does go on to talk about the racism he faced and he also talks a bit about another candidate of color who did not make it through. The last few chapters of the book lost me a bit as I was not sure why he talked so much about the other candidate. The reader of this story was just so wonderful though that despite some of the spotty writing, I just loved to listen to James K. White. I will look for other stories he has narrated. I recommend this story because of its historical value and I think it is important for us as Americans to continue to fight discrimination of every kind. We all need to be like Henry was and like Dr. King and judge people on their character.

An important book

(5 stars)

H.O. Flipper was an exceptionally fine man. These days he would (I hope) be singled out as the sort of intelligent and thoughtful officer who best represents the service. One thing I am sure of: Flipper would not want to be remembered as a victim. In spite of his treatment, he doesn't criticise the service itself, but rather the disgraceful and "ungentlemanly" culture of West Point cadets. First and foremost Flipper considered himself an army officer, and listeners who have undergone military training will empathise with him there. This important book should be read/listened to by all Americans. It is exceptionally well interpreted by James White, one of LibriVox's premier voice talents. Thank you James, yet again, for bringing to light an important work from the past! More please. TheBookworm (Manchester, UK)

Excellent Listen

(5 stars)

Extremely well written, extremely well read. The day to day details written in the fullest detail. Often the most passionate subject written with the most dispassionate style. Amazing autobiography of a young black man tolerating what he had to to be the first black man to graduate West Point and at the same time never lowering his personal principles. Written at all times with great detail and some points in minute detail I suppose so the picture is complete with out sounding the victim. I think I should be required reading by every young person regardless of sex or station. Also very well read, the writing style, with so much detail, could possibly be very boring but the reader does such a great job the listener rarely realizes the readers presence.

Janalyn Prude Bergeron's

(5 stars)

This book would make a lot of Americans problem not just black Americans this man lived in the height of racism and degradation yet held his head up high and lived a respectable well play in the life


(5 stars)

Yes that authored used the incorrect Racist term for Peoples Of Color. Now we need to burn effigies of this book just like we tear down statues of Frederick Douglass to show how progressive we are