This illustration from the March 14, 1863, issue of Harper’s Weekly magazine — titled “A Negro Regiment in Action” — depicts the Battle of Island Mound, Missouri, in October 1862.
Cathay Williams was the first African American woman to enlist in the U.S. Army — in a time when women were prohibited from serving.
This photograph shows the men of the Independent Battery, U.S. Colored Light Artillery, positioned in front of the guard house at Fort Leavenworth.
Lafayette Alonzo Tillman is remembered most for being one of Kansas City’s first African American police officers.
Maj. N. Clark Smith was a prominent musician, composer, and instructor and one of the most accomplished African American bandmasters of the early 20th century.
Rosie Mason was a law enforcement trailblazer, working 39 years in the Kansas City Police Department and serving as its first African American female officer.
Lt. William Dominick Matthews was an African American officer of the Independent Battery, U.S. Colored Light Artillery, at Fort Leavenworth.