Duke Ligon, currently head of Mekusukey Oil Company, LLC, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, serves on the boards of directors of other energy companies in the region, including Blueknight Energy Partners, L.P. Additionally, Duke Ligon is an active and committed philanthropist, supporting numerous nonprofit organizations as a board member, donor, and fundraiser.
Among these is the Washington, D.C.-based Civil War Trust, dedicated to preserving the heritage of Civil War and Revolutionary War battlefield sites for the education of future generations. The trust’s work includes the public education efforts of its website, which offers links to vivid virtual history lessons that include a short video on the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This company was made famous through the Oscar-winning 1989 film Glory.
The 54th was among the United States’ first African-American military companies. Although the war had begun in 1860, and supporters of abolition had argued for the inclusion of African-American troops on the Union side, it was not until 1863 that such a unit was allowed to form.
More than 1,000 black soldiers, many from slave states, quickly signed up to serve. Two of the sons of abolitionist Frederick Douglass served in the company. Under the command of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, the 54th charged the Confederate base at Fort Wagner on the Port of Charleston. Tragically, they were overwhelmed and saw half their number killed, including Shaw. But this brave assault weakened the Confederates to such an extent that they soon abandoned the fort.v