Major Ford, The Outspoken Descendant Of George Washington Who Fought The KKK

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He is known in many circles in the United States for being a strong advocate of Black empowerment and fighting against racial abuse of African Americans. Major George W. Ford, a celebrated war veteran, is recorded to have demanded a retraction from U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt when he said Black soldiers depended heavily on White soldiers to cope in the Spanish-American war.

Roosevelt replied to his letter to indicate that Black soldiers who served under him performed creditably and discharged their duties honorably in the war, according to Sangamon County Historical Society.

Major Ford, who is believed to be a descendant of U.S. President George Washington, at age 50, placed on hold his service at the national cemetery to fight in the Spanish-American War. He is the first African American to have been appointed a superintendent of the national cemetery.

The national cemetery is where high-ranking war veterans who were wounded in the war worked as part of their service to the nation. He enlisted in the military when he was 19 years old in 1867 at the 10th US Cavalry. He was part of a few Black officers to have joined the all-black regiments known as Buffalo Soldiers. He fought in the Indian Wars of the 1870s on the frontlines where the battles were most fierce.

Major Ford recounted his many war adventures including traveling from Kansas to the Rio Grande without crossing a railroad. Major Ford retired at the top level of his military career in the 20th century Sangamon County. He was the regimental quartermaster sergeant in 1877 and proceeded to take a new role at the national cemetery.

Between  1906 to 1930, he was a camp butler at the national cemetery. He was a staunch critic of the Ku Klux Klan. He is known to have protested the launching of a book by a key figure of the KKK, Thomas Dixon, in Springfield. Major Ford said the book titled ‘The Clansman’ and the presence of Dixon will only end up corrupting the morals of residents in an appeal to the Springfield community.

He was part of an eminent committee of 5,000 African Americans who asked the Mayor at the time, Thomas Recce, to disallow Dixon to engage an audience at Springfield. Major Ford gave the campaign a boost by writing correspondence to a former minister to voice his concerns about the promotion of racial sentiments by Dixon. The negative publicity and stiff opposition eventually forced Dixon to cancel the book launch in Springfield.

When he was appointed a major in the 23rd Kansas Infantry to lead a military occupation in Cuba, he took on Teddy Roosevelt over his comments about African-American military officers. Roosevelt later replied to indicate that he had been misquoted in his commentary about the soldiers. Since then Major Ford enjoyed a healthy relationship and friendship with Teddy Roosevelt.

He was also a close friend of pan-Africanist W.E.B. Dubois. Historians say Major Ford was a descendant of George Washington. They trace his family lineage to his grandfather, who was one of the sons of George Washington. There are reports of George Washington having affair with an enslaved woman named Venus.

It is believed that a son by the name of West Ford came out of that engagement at George Washington’s half-brother’s plantation.

Historians say the features of West Ford being light skin and the unusual favors he enjoyed on the plantation lend credence to the affair George Washington had with Venus.

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