Black heroes remembered by Wallace State professor

Wallace State Community College Professor Robert S. Davis (Wallace State)

HANCEVILLE, Ala. — Wallace State Community College Professor Robert S. Davis received Honorable Mention in the first Black History Black Stories contest sponsored by Macmillan Learning publishing company in honor of Black History Month.

February is recognized Black History Month and the contest asked participants how they were drawing inspiration from historical Black events, movements and leaders. Davis’s inspiration came from African American patriots and of the soldiers who literally fought for their freedom in the Civil War.

Davis submitted an essay on Austin Dabney, a slave who received his freedom from the state of Georgia for crippling wounds he received during the American Revolution. Dabney was the first African American to receive a government pension and the only Black federal pensioner for the first 40 years of United States.

Davis is writing a biography of Dabney and has published several articles on this Black hero. He also manages the genealogy collection at Wallace State, which includes a number of resources for family history research of all kinds, including African American.

You can read Davis’s essay at

This same month, Davis has also published an article on the Haitian soldiers who served in the French army in the battles around Savannah in 1779. These soldiers served and suffered valiantly fighting alongside and, at one point saving, the American Army from disaster.

A monument to the Haitian soldiers, some of whom would later have leadership roles in the Haitian Revolution, stands in Savannah. Some of their descendants live in the United States, including whose ancestors deserted the French army to find liberty in the new United States.

The article appears in the free online Journal of the American Revolution. Davis first explored the Haitian troops while writing another article for the JAR on the history of 20,000 acres in Clarke and Jackson counties in Georgia given to the French commander, the Comte d’Estaing. He also recently contributed articles on the sacrifices of Georgia women in the American Revolution.

Professor Davis’ article on Alabama’s United States Colored Troops was the cover story for the winter 2020 issue of Alabama Heritage. Among the patrons using Wallace State’s extensive genealogy collection is a project in Rome, Georgia to honor the 44th USCT, an African American regiment recruited from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee that served valiantly at Dalton and Nashville.

The genealogy program at Wallace States helps many people with their research, both visitors and students. For visiting hours contact or 256-352-8265.

Aside from an independent study course in genealogy, the program will be offering short continuing education classes in family history, Civil War, and other research this summer. For more information, contact Amanda Aris, at or 256-352-8386.

For more information about Wallace State, visit or call 256-352-8000.