American Experience (1988– )
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The Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry 

1:17 | Trailer
A story of the formation and service of the first all-Black military unit in the United States during the Civil War.


Jacqueline Shearer



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Episode credited cast:
Rocky Carroll ... James Gooding (voice)
Laurence Fishburne ... Martin Delany (voice)
Morgan Freeman ... Narrator (voice)
Carl Lumbly ... Frederick Douglass
Kevin Rock ... Thomas Ampey (voice)
Blair Underwood ... Lewis Douglass


A story of the formation and service of the first all-Black military unit in the United States during the Civil War.

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Release Date:

7 October 1991 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

WGBH See more »
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User Reviews

What's with the ridiculously low rating?!
14 March 2012 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This episode of "The American Experience" has an incredibly low overall score at this time. Don't believe its current score (below 5.0)--it's exceptional.

It seems fitting that Morgan Freeman narrated this episode of the series, as he was the male black lead in the film "Glory"--a movie about this same Massachusetts 54th Colored Infantry. It's the story about how the black men worked to get the right to fight for the Union during the Civil War as well as a discussion of their impact on the war itself once they received this right. Overall, a great episode--and a wonderful companion to the film "Glory"--especially since "Glory" ends with the unsuccessful attack on Ft. Wagner (1863--two years before the war ended) and yet the rest of the unit continued fighting to the war's end. Exceptionally well made and compelling throughout--making it a stellar addition to the series.

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