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Henry Lincoln Johnson (1897 July 5, 1929) was an Americanmarker soldier, and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, and the Frenchmarker Croix de Guerre.


Johnson was born in Alexandria, Virginiamarker and moved to Albany, New Yorkmarker when he was in his early teens. He worked as a redcap porter at the Albany Union Stationmarker on Broadway. Johnson enlisted in the Army June 5, 1917, joining the all-black New York National Guard unit, the 369th Infantry Regiment, based in Harlemmarker. Assigned to the French command in World War I, Johnson arrived in France on New Year’s Day, 1918. While on guard duty on May 14, 1918, Private Johnson came under attack by a German raider party. Johnson displayed uncommon heroism when, using his rifle and a bolo knife, he repelled the Germans, thereby rescuing a comrade from capture and saving the lives of his fellow soldiers.

Sgt. Henry Johnson was the first American soldier in World War I to receive the Croix de Guerre with star and Gold Palm from the French government.

Johnson died in New Lenox, Illinoismarker at the Veterans Hospital, on July 5, 1929, penniless, estranged from his wife and family and without official recognition from the U.S. government. He is buried in Arlington National Cemeterymarker.

Interest in obtaining fitting recognition for Johnson grew during the 1970s and 1980s. In November 1991 a monument was erected in Albany's Washington Parkmarker in his honor, and a section of Northern Boulevard was renamed Henry Johnson Boulevard.

In June 1996, Johnson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart by President Bill Clinton. In February 2003, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second highest award, was presented to Herman A. Johnson, one of the Tuskegee Airmen, on behalf of his father. John Howe, a Viet Nam veteran who had campaigned tirelessly for recognition for Johnson, and US Army Major General Nathaniel James, President of the 369th Veterans Association, were present at the ceremony in Albany.

In December 2004 the Postal facility at 747 Broadway was renamed the “United States Postal Service Henry Johnson Annex.” Work continues to upgrade his Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor.

On September 4, 2007 the City of Albany dedicated the Henry Johnson Charter School. Johnson's granddaughter was in attendance.



  2. Henry Johnson, Sergeant, United States Army at

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