A Historian Who Made History

A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.”  Colin Powell

Dr. Martha Putney was a woman who knew the value of  General Powell’s words.  In fact, since she was his senior she was possibly one of the people who inspired his quote. 

Born in 1916 Dr. Putney went to college to escape being a maid, one of the few careers open to Black women back when she was a young woman.  From Howard University she went on to achieve great things, including becoming a lieutenant in the segregated Army during World War II.  Dr. Putney trained black medical technicians during the war. She was one of the first Black women to become a member of the WACs (Women’s Army Corps).  After leaving the Army she earned a Phd in history and had a distinguished academic career, including being an author who documented the numerous contributions of Blacks in combat.

She died in December 2008.  Dr. Putney was one of many veterans featured in Tom Brokaw’s bestselling book The Greatest Generation.  On the February 10th edition of the NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw once again honored this great lady with a special report on her life, career and her burial in Arlington National Cemetery along with other American heroes.


Martha Putney, Patriot

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