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State Historical Society of Iowa

African-American Captains at Ft. Des Moines, October 15, 1917

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1917 photo taken by Hebard Showers of 102 soldiers, mostly African American officers, at Fort Des Moines in Des Moines, Iowa.
Courtesy of State Historical Society of Iowa, Showers, Hebard, 1917 October 15


The photograph shows African-American captains at the Officer Reserve Training Camp at Ft. Des Moines Army Post in Des Moines, Iowa. The image was taken by Hebard Showers on Oct. 15, 1917.

Source-Dependent Questions

  • Are all of the soldiers in the photograph African American? Why would there be non-African-American soldiers in the photo? What would be their role?
  • What do you notice about the uniforms of each soldier, and why do you think that is important to notice?
  • Knowing that this was taken during the time of segregation in the United States, how do you think the soldiers of different races were able to get along? Can you see anything in the picture that could support your answer?