NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A historical marker will be unveiled at Tennessee State University on March 20 to honor alumnus and Medal of Honor recipient, Lt. William McBryar.
The event will take place at 1 p.m. in front of Kean Hall on the main campus. A number of lawmakers, military officials, and TSU officials are expected to attend the ceremony.
TSU President Glenda Glover will give the welcome, and Lt. Col. Paul Coakley, a U.S. Army veteran and president of the Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Buffalo Soldiers, is the keynote speaker.
McBryar, a Buffalo Soldier, was posthumously honored at a special Veterans Day program at TSU last year. He was awarded America’s highest military decoration for his actions on March 7, 1890, during the Cherry Creek Campaign in the Arizona Territory. According to his citation, McBryar was distinguished for “coolness, bravery and marksmanship” while his 10th Cavalry troop was in pursuit of hostile Apache warriors.
Dating back to the Civil War, there have been 3,498 Medal of Honor recipients. Of that number, 90 are black – and Lt. McBryar is one of them.
“Medal of Honor recipients … are some of the most outstanding people in all of our nation’s history,” Tennessee Congressman Jim Cooper said at the Veterans Day program. “I’m so proud that a TSU graduate received that medal.”
McBryar went on to serve with the 25th Infantry in the Spanish-American war and fought at El Caney, Cuba. He also saw action in the Philippine Insurrection before demobilizing in San Francisco.
In 1906, after leaving the military, McBryar moved to Greensboro, North Carolina as a civilian and there he married Sallie Waugh, a nurse. Three years later, he worked as a watchman at Arlington National Cemetery and as a military instructor at what is now Saint Paul’s College.
In 1933, with a desire to complete his degree, McBryar attended Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State University. He graduated the following year, at age 73, with an agriculture degree, finishing a college education that started at Saint Augustine’s University before he enlisted in the military.
McBryar went on to write for “The Bulletin,” a publication at Tennessee State, addressing issues related to social justice and developments in Germany.
McBryar died in 1941 at the age of 80. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
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