In May 1917, the United States opened the very first Officers Training Camp for Black men in military history. The location-Fort Des Moines. Over the next 6 months, 1,200 Black men are trained to lead segregated commands in World War I, all the while knowing that their success or failure as leaders will be used by others as evidence of the abilities of their race. In this presentation, participants will learn about the experiences of these men, closely examining one man, perhaps the most famous graduate of Fort Des Moines-Charles Hamilton Houston. By following his story, we see not only how these men shaped the United States military, but the Civil Rights movement as a whole.
This joint library-Historical Society event is free and open to the public thanks to the support of West Des Moines Historical Society Members, EMC Insurance Foundation, the West Des Moines Library Friends Foundation and the Iowa Arts Council.
New this year- all Iowa Files programs will be live streamed on the West Des Moines Historical Society’s YouTube channel and all videos will be closed captioned.