Painting Depicting 1st Kansas Colored Infantry
This unit consisted of many men from both Cherokee and Creek Nations
Image accessed from Black Past.org
Among the missing stories fromt Oklahoma and it pre-staehood history are the stories of slavery, the quest for freedom and the stories of the Freedmen. Embedded in the quest for freedom comes the story of men both enslaved and free, who enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. This untold Oklahoma story is rich reflecting stories of courageous of these black freedom fighters who joined the battle for freedom. They are honored this week during Freedmen History Month
Almost 200,000 men of African descent served in the American Civil War. Within that large number were men who served in several portions of the Union Army--the United States Colored Troops, the Indian Home Guards and the 1st & 2nd Kansas Colored.
Within these units were men who had a background that distinguishes them from other soldiers. These men had lived in Indian Territory, within Five native tribes. Many had been slaves while in these tribes, and some or their parents had come to the Territory on the forced migration known widely as the Trail of Tears. The tribes from which they came are Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole Nations.
Many of these men have their names inscribed on the Civil War monument in Washington DC. Their participation in the Civil War is not widely known, even by many who descend from them. However, their legacy is a strong one, and as a result they are to be honored throughout this week, of Freedmen History month.
Battles in Which They Fought
May the forgotten freedom fighters from Indian Territory long be remembered. Their legacy should no longer be overlooked.