Day 18: Cathay Williams

The first African American woman to ENLIST in the military, and she passed herself off as a man named William Cathay.

She served in the “fought” in the American Civil War from impressment, but enlisted afterward from 1866 to 1868, when she was discharged by her commanding officer.

She died in 1892, in Colorado.

I have to put a side note.. I’ve been through a military examination; during a time when women weren’t allowed in the military and she was examined, how in the hell did they NOT know she was a woman? (Read the army link)

Day 3: Sarah Rector

Here is the tale that we all know so well about many of our people.

A young woman by the name of Sarah Rector, from the Indian Territory Oklahoma (Creek Nation)–making her not only black, but Native as well, came into some land and on this land was oil; she was the first black millionaire in Kansas City. It was worth a cool $3 million.

White people made it their business to “manage” her affairs and estate and get her labeled as “white”. Heaven forbid a young black girl should have more money than white people in the area.She was living in squalid conditions, while her managers were living it up at her expenses. It wasn’t until the likes of DuBois and Washington stepped in to help her. Booker T and W.E.B took her, upgraded her lifestyle and educated her. But by that time, it was too late.

Sarah Rector faced a situation that so many of our young black folks faced today, too much money, too quickly… mismanagement. She ended up spending lavishly, entertaining, but being broke shortly before she passed.

This doesn’t take away from her though. She was still a young black girl who owned land, houses and was rich. Although she descended from Natives, none of her descendants are allowed to claim their Native blood. The mansion in Kansas City still stands today.

PFC. LaVena Johnson

07/27/1985-07/19/2005 ~ First Woman from Missouri to die in Iraq ~Not yet 20

I’m not so sure this was race-related as it was more women-related. She was a young black girl from Missouri. Very smart, top of class in high school. She chose to serve and fight for her country. 6 weeks into her journey, her life was tragically cut short.

Like so many cover ups by either the military or the government, she too is one of the cases. Her death was ruled a suicide. However, the condition of her body, the inexplicable other wounds, do not coincide with suicide. They coincide with a heinous, covered-up homicide committed by men and/or women who this young women trusted as her brothers and/or sisters. She was raped, beaten, burned, and tortured.

She wasn’t attacked by “the enemy” either. She was savagely accosted by some of her own. These types of things happen a lot on military bases, I have from a reliable source. They often go unannounced due to women fearing to be unjustly demoted, discharged or punished. It’s a cruel world that military women live in and I salute each and every one of them who has made it through and is safe.