The source “Colored Officers or no Colored Soldiers” by Presley Holliday provides an insight into an assault on San Juan Hill of El Caney and the lead of the colored troops by a white colonel. In this source, Presley Holliday, Sergeant of the Tenth Cavalry, speaks on the encounters with Colonel Roosevelts’ aspirations on black soldiers. A simple misunderstanding turned into a threat by the Colonel, who yelled at them, saying that he would shoot the first man who attempted to “shirk” the line, even though it was an exact order from one of the Lieutenant. Everyone tried to correct the Colonel in his mistake, and he understood that these men were following direct orders, but this was not shown to the public.
He could not admit directly that he was wrong, but his statements were ungrateful to the Colored soldiers who served in this attack. These men are as devoted to their duty as any other soldiers, but the Colonel could not take people knowing he was wrong and instead blamed the soldiers. As the attack was one of the largest to weaken the forces both at Luis Guasima and San Juan Hill, it is incredibly upsetting to read that these men’s actions were not taken as necessary or more important than the other volunteered soldiers. This is so important as it would never be heard of an all-white battalion to be threatened to be shot by not staying at the line. Further, this shows how even with these soldiers laying down their lives for the country, they are still seen as not doing enough and or weakly, which shows the larger part of the racism embedded in the United States.
Presley Holiday.“Colored Officers, or no Colored soldiers.” In American Empire at the Turn at the Twentieth Century: A Brief History with Documents, 1st Edition. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016.