Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

Tag: African American Soldiers (Page 1 of 2)

The African American Soldier: George Alexander Sweatt

George Alexander Sweatt is best remembered as one of the ballplayers from the glory days of baseball’s Negro Leagues, one of the many who was likely good enough to play in the major leagues but never got the chance due to their race.  Sweatt would play in the first four Negro Leagues World Series, playing for the Kansas City Monarchs in 1924 and 1925, and the Chicago American Giants in 1926 and 1927. more

The African American Soldier: John E. Wilson

1st Lieutenant John E. Wilson was born December 4, 1881 at Mobile, Alabama.  He had been working as a porter in 1901 when he enlisted in the 9th U.S. Cavalry, one of the “Buffalo Soldier” regiments.  He served for six years, and records found so far suggest he never rose above being a private.  However, since attendance at the officers’ training school at Fort Des Moines  required either being a non-commissioned officer or a college education, one may assume he did reach at least the rank of corporal, as there is no indication of a college education. more

The African American Soldier: Wesley H. Jamison

Wesley Herbert Jamison was born July 20, 1889 at Topeka.  His father was a lawyer, and Wesley followed him into the profession.  He attended the University of Kansas Law School, passing the bar examinations in 1913.  This is also what qualified him for officers’ training school, where he got his commission as a 2nd lieutenant.  He served in the 351st Machine Gun Battalion of the 92nd Division. more

The African American Soldier: Arthur A. Hill

Arthur Allen Hill was born on November 26, 1878 in Kansas — probably in Lawrence — to parents who had been born in Virginia, raising the question as to whether or not they had been slaves.  A city directory indicates that Arthur was a gardener before the war, but one who was college educated.  Census records indicate that fact, although there is no indication of where he attended college.  This was enough to qualify him for the officers’ training school, where he was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant.  He served in Company K of the 372nd Infantry, 93rd Division. more

The African American Soldier: Lee J. Hicks

Of the Kansans who attended the officers training school at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, Lee J. Hicks was the only one who would be commissioned a captain — all the others were 1st or 2nd lieutenants.  Of 626 commissions given, only 104 were for captains.

Attending the training school required either being a college graduate or a non-commissioned officer.  In Hicks case, he was a graduate of the now defunct Western University at Quindaro.  From there he went to Tuskegee University, where he reportedly was the secretary to the brother of Booker T. Washington. more

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