June 14, 2010
Born a slave in Phillips County in 1864, John Hanks Alexander was the second African American to graduate from West Point. After graduating thirty-second in his class in 1887, he was assigned frontier duty in Nebraska as the sole black officer of the famous Buffalo Soldier regiment, the Ninth Cavalry. Shortly after being detailed to teach at Ohios Wilberforce University in 1894, he died suddenly of a heart attack. In 1918, a military training camp in Virginia was named in his honor.