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There is much that is remarkable about James M. Trotter. Born into slavery, he was one of the first Americans of African descent to attain rank as an officer in the United States army, having fought in the Civil War. He went on to have a career as an author, civil rights advocate, and a public servant. His son, William Monroe Trotter (1872-1934), became an important newspaperman in Boston and a civil rights champion in his own right, helping to found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People with W.E.B. Du Bois in 1909. An elementary school in Boston, the Trotter Innovation School, is named after William Trotter.

The Mirror of Race has published an essay by Erina Duganne on the topic of "Black Civil War Por­trai­ture in Con­text". We are hoping to publish other essays on topics relating to African Americans fighting for their civil rights, and how that struggle has been reflected in photography.