David Fagen

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David Fagen
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
DiedUnknown date
AllegianceFirst Philippine Republic Philippines
United States United States
Service/branchUnited States Army (until November 1899)
Philippine Revolutionary Army (November 1899-1901)
Rank Corporal (United States Army)

Captain (Philippine Republican Army)
UnitUS Army 24th Regiment (until November 1899)
Battles/warsPhilippine–American War

David Fagen or David Fagin (born 1875, date of death unknown) was an African-American soldier who defected during the Philippine–American War. He acquired the rank of captain in the Philippine Revolutionary Army.[1][2]


A native of Tampa, Florida,[3] Fagen served in the 24th Regiment of the U.S. Army, but on November 17, 1899,[4] he defected to the Filipino army.[5] He became a guerrilla leader.

His defection was likely a reaction to racist treatment of African-American soldiers within the United States armed forces at the time, as well as racist sentiments expressed towards the Filipino resistance, who were frequently referred to by American soldiers as "niggers" and "gugus".[6]

After two other black deserters were captured and executed, President Theodore Roosevelt announced he would stop executing captured deserters.[2]

Supposed death[edit]

As the war ended, the US gave amnesties to most of their opponents. A substantial reward was offered for Fagen, who was considered a traitor. There are two conflicting versions of his fate: one is that his was the partially decomposed head for which the reward was claimed, and the other is that he married a local woman and lived peacefully in the mountains.[7]

Media portrayals[edit]

  • Portrayed by Quester Hannah, an American theater actor, in the 2013 indie film, David F.


  1. ^ Black Soldier White Army (Paperback). Government Printing Office. 1996. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-16-087264-8.
  2. ^ a b William T. Bowers; William M. Hammond; George L. MacGarrigle (May 1997). Black Soldier, White Army: The 24th Infantry Regiment in Korea. DIANE Publishing. pp. 12. ISBN 978-0-7881-3990-1.
  3. ^ Rafael, Vicente (11 February 2007). "David Fagen (1875-?)". BlackPast.org.
  4. ^ E. San Juan Jr. "An African American Soldier in the Philippine Revolution:An Homage to David Fagen". www.academia.edu: 20. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
  5. ^ Rudy Rimando, "Interview with Historical Novelist William Schroder: Before Iraq, There Was the Philippines", November 28, 2004, History News Network.
  6. ^ Ryan, David (2014). Cullinane, Michael Patrick (ed.). U.S. Foreign Policy and the Other. Berghahn. pp. 114–115. ISBN 978-1782384397. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  7. ^ The Saga of David Fagen

Further reading[edit]