The Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center, a National Historic Site, offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience; a chance to explore and learn about two seperate but equally ground-breaking U.S. military programs.
Here in central Iowa, Fort Des Moines was the site of the U.S. Army’s first and only officer candidate class for African American men. Formed in response to America’s entry into World War I, 639 men graduated as commissioned officers in October 1917. These men defied skeptics, including President Woodrow Wilson, who believed African Americans lacked the courage and intelligence to lead troops to combat. Most of these men served in France and when they returned to the United States, many of these men such as Charles Houston, who litigated over sixty Jim Crow cases for the NAACP, went on to become civil rights leaders in their communities and across the United States. That same year, 104 doctors and 12 dentist earned commission as the first African American medical officers in the Army. In this training class was Dr. Louis T. Wright “Mr. Harlem Hospital” who became a prominent surgeon in Harlem, New York.
Massing of the Colors is a patriotic ceremony held to rededicate our faith in the United States, and to present our support to the National Colors and the Servicemen and Servicewomen those Colors represent. These ceremonies usually involve color guard units from: Active-Duty, Reserve and National Guard military units; Senior and Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) units; armed services auxiliary organizations; state militias; veteran and civic groups; police, sheriff, and fire departments; and Boy Scout and Girl Scout organizations.
(from The Military Order of the World Wars’ (MOWW))
Invitations to participate and attend are being extended to members of the above-mentioned organizations, along with a general invitation to everyone in the community and specific invitations to veterans, community service workers, and students of Central Iowa area middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities. We will be gathering the colors together to prepare for the celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I later in November. There will be a brief program at 11:00 and the opportunity to meet, greet, thank, and interact with the attendees after the ceremony.
Make a Donation
Donations will allow for:
- Re-opening the Museum with regular hours
- Repairs to the heating and cooling systems
- Hosting student tours of the Museum
- Developing new exhibits
- Starting an endowment for future operating expenses