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"The Battle of Island Mound," a film based on the history of Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site near Butler, won two Emmy Awards at the 2015 Mid-America Emmy Awards Oct. 3, in St. Louis. The film was a collaborative effort between Missouri State Parks and St. Louis-based filmmaker Brant Hadfield. Awards were received for Best Historical Documentary and in recognition of the film’s cinematography.

"We commissioned this film because most Missourians are unaware that the first instance of African-American troops engaging in Civil War combat happened right here in our state," said Bill Bryan, director of Missouri State Parks. "These awards are a well-deserved achievement for everyone who worked on and contributed to the film. In addition, they provide another way to bring attention to this important event in our state’s history."  

Earlier this summer, Gov. Jay Nixon included a DVD copy of "The Battle of Island Mound" in the Missouri State Capitol’s Centennial Time Capsule. The short documentary highlights the story of Battle of Island Mound, the first instance of African-American troops being directed to oppose forces aligned with the Confederacy during the American Civil War. Battle of Island Mound State Historic site encompasses Fort Africa, where the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry were camped in 1862 before a battle with pro-Confederate forces near a low hill named Island Mound.

"It was a real honor and big responsibility to create a film that would live up to the historical significance embodied in that battle," said Hadfield, who wrote, directed, shot and edited the film. "A lot of people had to come together with a common passion for this remarkable story. It's great for everyone involved to have the recognition of the Emmys awarded, as an acknowledgement of what we were all able to achieve."

In February 2014, Ruskin High School students in Kansas City were among the first to view the film. In addition to purchasing the movie online at, the public can view the film as a part of an exhibit at Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center in Kansas City. A showing that will include question and answer with the filmmaker is scheduled for 2 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 21 at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.  

The Battle of Island Mound State Historic Site near Butler, Mo, is one of Missouri State Parks’ 87 state parks and historic sites. For more information on state parks and historic sites, visit Missouri State Parks is a division of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources.

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