January 6, 1864

John Hanks Alexander was born in Phillips County. Although his parents were born slaves, Alexander was the second African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He served in Fort Washakie, Wyoming, and with the Ninth Cavalry at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, as the only black officer in a command position. Later, he was detailed to Wilberforce University, where he was a professor of tactics and military science. After his death, the Department of War honored him with the military installation of Camp Alexander at Newport News, Virginia.

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