AME honors soldiers of ‘U.S. Colored Troops’

Pictured above amongst others are, first row, from left, Chief Diane Conrad, Lt. Colonel Joseph Selden, Pastor Donna King and Cheryl Delts; second row, Pastor Harold McKenzie, Dr. Edgar Farmer, Pastor John Pavlica, Kathleen Henson and Pastor Bob Dornan.
Dr. Edgar Farmer, a retired veteran, places an American flag on a tombstone at Union Cemetery in Bellefonte.

BELLEFONTE — On Friday, Nov. 11, St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Bellefonte held a Veterans Day program.

A small prayer circle and memorial service was held at the church from 2 to 3 p.m. Afterward, individuals went to Union Cemetery, at 3:15 p.m., to place flowers and flags on the graves of soldiers who belonged to the United States Colored Troops (USCT).

Ministers, police chiefs, veterans and descendants of the Mills family celebrated the life and history of the USCT, who were members of St. Paul AME Church. At the ceremony, this group of leaders learned about mixed race relations and political activism related to abolitionist thought.

“Interesting lesson to teach this group of leaders — but not unique to the abolitionists of yesterday,” said Pastor Donna King. “We could learn a great deal from their collective work and liberatory consciousness, law enforcement, faith work and being soldiers bent on freedom for all, just like the Underground Railroad groups.”