Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I

Adriane Lentz-Smith

Harvard University Press, 2009

For many of the 200,000 black soldiers sent to Europe with the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I, encounters with French civilians and colonial African troops led them to imagine a world beyond Jim Crow. They returned home to join activists working to make that world real. In narrating the efforts of African American soldiers and activists to gain full citizenship rights as recompense for military service, Dr. Adriane Lentz-Smith illuminates how World War I mobilized a generation. Black and white soldiers clashed as much with one another as they did with external enemies. Race wars within the military and riots across the United States demonstrated the lengths to which white Americans would go to protect a carefully constructed caste system.