Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

The African American Soldier: Kansans at Fort Des Moines

In the previous post about Clemmie Parks, we mention that he attended what was an officers’ training school for African Americans, as segregation was very much a part of the Army.  This school was held at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and was made up of 1,250 candidates.  1,000 of these were made up of college graduates; the remaining 250 were men who were or had been non commissioned officers in the four units referred to as the Buffalo Soldiers–the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry, and the 24th and 25th U.S. Infantry.

Parks, having been a sergeant in the 24th U.S. Infantry, was eligible for the school.

We will let the following link describe the school at Fort Des Moines:  http://www.iptv.org/iowapathways/mypath/black-officers-fort-des-moines-ww-i

(The following link is no longer working.  We’re looking for a replacement.  If you have suggestions, please comment.)

A full list of the 1917 graduates can be found here (you may have to scroll down for the start of the list):  http://fortdesmoinesmuseum.org/history/1917-graduates/

For the sake of convenience, in addition to Parks, eleven other Kansas men were in the school.  They are listed below.

-William D. Bly, 1st Lt., Leavenworth.

-Howard R.M. Browne, 1st Lt., Kansas City, KS.

-George W. Hamilton, Jr., 1st Lt., Topeka.

-Lee J. Hicks, Captain, Ottawa.

-Arthur A. Hill, 1st Lt., Lawrence.

-Wesley H. Jamison, 2nd Lt., Topeka.

-Aldon L. Logan, 1st Lt., Lawrence.

-Wilbur F. Stonestreet, 2nd Lt., Topeka.

-Johnson C. Whittaker, 1st Lt., Lawrence.

-John E. Wilson, 1st Lt., Leavenworth.

-Elbert S. Wright, 2nd Lt., Baldwin City.

At the moment, we have no research on these men, so any separate accounts of them will have to come later.

Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.

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