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Morning Sun
  • FSNHS to offer anniversary program

  • Fort Scott National Historic Site will offer a special program at 2 p.m. Saturday in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the federal muster of the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry.

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  • Fort Scott National Historic Site will offer a special program at 2 p.m. Saturday in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the federal muster of the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry.
    The unit was sworn into service on Jan. 13, 1863, on the parade grounds at Fort Scott.
    Kansas was the first Union state to recruit, train, muster and send African American soldiers into combat during the Civil War. The First Kansas Colored was the first African American regiment to be recruited from a northern state and the first to defeat the Confederates in combat.
    The program, scheduled in the site library, will feature a keynote address on the formation of the First Kansas Colored by retired National Park Service historian Arnold Schofield. The program will also honor an African American officer with the unit, Capt. William D. Matthews, with a dramatic reading of events from his life story. Matthew Wells, a park volunteer, will play period music.
    In addition, Park Ranger Barry Geertsen will give a talk about the Emancipation Proclamation, which became official on Jan. 1, 1863, and paved the way for the mustering in of the unit 12 days later.
    It was the story of the First Kansas Colored that convinced Congress to authorize funding for the Fort Scott National Historic Site in 1965, the same year that civil rights legislation was passed.
    The program will be open free to the public. The site is open free from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Anyone needing additional information may call 620-223-0310 or visit the park web site at www.nps.gov/fosc.
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