Kansas FFA Blog

It Takes All

In high school I had two favorite subjects. One was, as you may have guessed, Agricultural education. However, the other was History. I have always had this fascination and excitement for what has happened in the past. Furthermore, I am a fairly competitive person, and most history is abought competition. So much so that many would say that history is written by the winners. In my studies of history this is largely true. This leads me to wonder how the many writers of history became winners. Now, I am not an expert and I do not claim to know the answers to everything in history but I have discovered a commonality amongst many of the winners throughout history. That commonality is inclusion of all.

Perhaps the best example of this is in the American Civil War. As you probably know this was the war between states caused by the extreme division of our nation. If you study much on this war you will quickly find that in the beginning the Union or the North was losing. The first couple years the Union Army had very little success. However, some brave men from here in our home state of Kansas came up with a solution. In 8th grade I was able to do a research project on Col. James M. Williams, who along with a group of other Kansas abolitionists, came up with the idea of including escaped slaves and freed African-Americans into the Union Army. After a secret meeting between Senator James Henry Lane and President Lincoln, Col. Williams had the permission to raise up a unit right here in Kansas. His unit, The First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry, would become the first to see combat in the civil war. They went on to become one of the most distinguished units on the western front of the war. They led the way for what would become 180,000 African-Americans to see combat in the Civil War. While this is not the only reason that the Union forces would go on to prevail during the war, it can certainly be argued that it led to a turning point in the war. Through simply including others the Union was able to greatly grow their force size.

As we go about our day to day lives and work towards success in our chapters and lives. Look for ways that you can expand your inclusion. Col. Williams seen the potential that others around him had and he took the step necessary to provide others a chance to participate and fight for shared beliefs, and experienced great success as a result. You never will know what kind of a movement could be caused by simply finding a place for others to get involved and help you toward your mission.

Me as Col. James M. Williams

Living to serve,

Quentin Umphenour,
State Treasurer

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