Category: History

Color Bearers Unite to Preserve America’s Civil War Sites

Color Bearers pic
Color Bearers
Image: civilwar.org

A resident of Oklahoma City, Duke Ligon owns and manages Mekusukey Oil Company and serves Peter J. Solomon Company as a senior advisor. Outside of his work in the energy sector, Duke Ligon holds positions on the boards of several nonprofit organizations, including that of the Civil War Trust.

The nonpartisan Civil War Trust works to preserve history by protecting significant battlefields of the Civil War, the War of 1812, and the Revolutionary War. However, urban sprawl and development poses an urgent threat to the preservation of these sites, and many have already been lost.

One way to support the Civil War Trust is through membership in the Color Bearers. Modeled after their 19th-century counterparts, Color Bearers commit themselves as leaders of the mission to save the nation’s battlegrounds. For a monthly fee, Color Bearer memberships are available in five successive levels: Regimental, Brigade, Division, Corps, and National. Each subsequent level enjoys the benefits of the level or levels prior.

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Civil War Trust Promotes Video Honoring the Brave 54th Massachusetts

The Civil War Trust pic
The Civil War Trust
Image: civilwar.org

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

The American Civil War Guarantees a Future for Democracy

The Civil War Trust pic
The Civil War Trust
Image: civilwar.org

Holding leadership positions at several energy companies, Duke Ligon of Oklahoma City also finds time for community organizations, including the Oklahoma City Museum of Art and the Civil War Trust. Duke Ligon is on the Civil War Trust’s board of trustees.

The Civil War Trust is committed to preserving the history of the American Civil War. Ligon’s intere is borne not only from his own experience as a Bronze Star-holding U.S. Army captain, but from a family history that counts three ancestors in the conflict.

The Civil War was the single bloodiest experience in U.S. history in terms of American casualties. At the same time, it was also a critical transformative experience. New Constitutional amendments abolished slavery and expanded citizenship and voting rights, the federal government had established its supremacy over the states, and northern entrepreneurial capitalism become the economic ideal over southern traditional agrarianism.

These consequences were not limited to the US itself, however, as the country was still very much an experiment in republican government – one which firmly held the attention of Europe and its former colonies.

As the Civil War progressed, many of the monarchs, emperors, and aristocrats anticipated that the US would emerge broken, conclusively proving the failure self-government. Spain and France even initiated plans to reclaim portions of the Americas. Instead, the US emerged from the war with a formidable military, thriving industry, and renewed commitment to its principles, emboldening other proponents of self-government throughout the hemisphere to take action. Spain and France withdrew their interests, Britain allowed the dominion of Canada to become self-governed (expecting that the US would attempt to annex it anyway), and Russia sold its Alaskan territory to the US, resulting in a complete European withdrawal from the Americas. In the case of Britain, Spain, and France, all three nations would see their monarchies either removed or severely limited in power by the end of the 19th century, adopting democratic reforms in their place.

The Destabilizing Force of the 1973 Oil Embargo

1973 Oil Embargo pic
1973 Oil Embargo
Image: npr.org

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma-based energy executive and attorney Duke Ligon has built up a distinguished career as counsel, founder, or board member of a wide range of oil and gas companies in his region. A graduate of the University of Texas School of Law, he has served his alma mater as an advisor to its Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law & Business. As part of his long career in the industry, Duke Ligon oversaw operations for an oil importing program associated with the White House Energy Policy Office and the federal Oil Policy Committee before and during the days of the global embargo that began in 1973.

The embargo came about after members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) chose to retaliate for the United States’ support of Israel during the Arab-Israeli War. OPEC’s membership consisted then, as it does now, of a number of the oil-exporting nations of the Middle East. In addition to forbidding petroleum exports to the United States, OPEC members banned countries such as the Netherlands, which had also given support to Israel, from receiving their oil supplies. In addition to these prohibitions, exporters elected to introduce cuts in the amount of oil they produced for world markets.

By that time, the American economy had become increasingly dependent upon the importation of foreign-produced petroleum products, and the embargo only exacerbated that situation. By the time the embargo ended in early 1974, American gas prices had more than doubled.