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Claudius Langdon Forney

If one can believe the presidential election polls we are about to have our first black president which will be a milestone by any measurement. Interestingly enough Senator Obama can not trace his direct ancestry to any American slaves as most American blacks can or claim. None the less he is a political pioneer which reminds me of a 1937 dated National Guard Medical Department Lieutenant’s Commission named to Claudius Langdon Forney. I bought it from Haag’s Antiques in Columbus, Wisconsin about 4-5 years ago. I like medical stuff and the name sounded black so how could I resist? A quick name check on Google found the name listed in the 1940 edition of Who’s Who in Colored America as a Physician. The Social Security Death Index lists the doctor as an Illinois resident from the Chicago area with life dates of 1897-1969. Then I checked my 1940 Illinois National Guard book and there was his picture as a Captain in the Eighth Infantry Headquarters Company Medical Staff. To become a black doctor in the America of the 1920’s he must have been an exceptional man. At the time of his death America was being torn apart by race riots. I wonder what would he say if he could see the potential Obama presidency of today?