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Flipper, Henry Ossian (21 March 1856–03 May 1940), soldier and engineer, was born in Thomasville, Georgia, the son of Festus Flipper and Isabelle (maiden name unknown), slaves. During the Civil War and Reconstruction he was educated in American Missionary Association schools and in 1873 gained admission to Atlanta University. That year Flipper also obtained an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy through the auspices of Republican Representative James C. Freeman. He was not the first African American to attend West Point, as Michael Howard and James Webster Smith preceded him in 1870, but neither graduated. Flipper subsequently endured four years of grueling academic instruction and ostracism from white classmates before graduating fiftieth in a class of sixty-four on 14 June 1877. He was commissioned second lieutenant in the all-black Tenth U.S. Cavalry, and the following year recounted his academy experience in an autobiography, ...

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Greene, Francis Vinton (27 June 1850–15 May 1921), army officer and business executive, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of General George Sears Greene (1801–1899) and Martha Dana. Entering the U.S. Military Academy in 1866, he graduated first in his class in 1870. He married Belle Eugénie Chevallié in 1879; they had six children....

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Lewis, Isaac Newton (12 October 1858–09 November 1931), soldier and inventor, was born in New Salem, Pennsylvania, the son of James H. Lewis and Anne Kendall. Little is known of his childhood because of his own reticence and the destruction of many of his personal papers in a fire. The family moved to Kansas, where Lewis was educated. Beyond that there is no information on family life, parental occupations, or even exact location. At twenty Lewis taught school, a task he found unpleasant. In 1880 he received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy, from which he graduated in 1884 and was commissioned a second lieutenant into artillery. After several short postings, he attended the Torpedo School at Willet’s Point, New York, in 1885 and 1886. In 1886 he married Mary Wheatley; they had four children....

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MacNider, Hanford (02 October 1889–17 February 1968), businessman and army officer, was born Hanford McNider in Mason City, Iowa, the son of Charles Henry McNider, a banker, and May Cordelia Hanford. As a teenager, MacNider resumed the old family spelling, inserting the a...

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Archibald Bulloch Roosevelt Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-97680).

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Roosevelt, Archibald Bulloch (09 April 1894–13 October 1979), businessman and military officer, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Theodore Roosevelt, then a U.S. civil service commissioner, and Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt. In 1901 Roosevelt’s father succeeded the assassinated William McKinley as U.S. president. A rambunctious youth, Archie made headlines by sliding down a White House banister into one diplomatic reception and by arriving at another on stilts....

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Wood, Robert Elkington (13 June 1879–06 November 1969), army officer and businessman, was born in Kansas City, Missouri, the son of Robert Whitney Wood, a merchant, and Lillie Collins, a former schoolteacher. Wood’s mother instilled in him a love of learning, and the young man hoped to attend Yale University, but his family could not afford an Ivy League education. Instead, in 1896 Robert entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York....