Items tagged African-American Soldiers (23 total)

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This 1864 poster was used to recruit African-American soldiers for the 20th Regiment, U.S. Colored Troops, a Union Army regiment based in New York state. The poster offers the lure of an up-front payment of $375 plus an additional $10 for anyone signing up, but likely more persuasive was the sentiment borne by the stern-looking eagle: "Who would be…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: Circa 1864

In this journalistic sketch, a group of African American soldiers liberates a plantation in eastern North Carolina. The troops were the so-called "African Brigade" composed of black recruits from Massachusetts and newly freed contraband slaves from Union-occupied territories of North Carolina. Like all black troops in the Civil War, the African…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1864

In this activity students read three letters written by African-American soldiers during the Civil War to determine why black soldiers felt compelled to join the Union Army.

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Item Type: Teaching Activity
Date: 2009

Joe Louis, the famous heavyweight boxing champion, served in the Army from 1940 to 1942, appearing in exhibition matches as well as this recruitment poster. A few years earlier, Louis had defeated German heavyweight Max Schmeling, a symbol of the supposed "Aryan superiority" touted by the Nazi regime. Of his decision to join a segregated U.S. Army,…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1941

"True Sons of Freedom," by Charles Gustrine, is a poster depicting African-American soldiers fighting against the German army. Three hundred and fifty thousand African Americans participated in the segregated U.S. army during WWI, but they were often limited to being support troops. Many units found combat fighting alongside the French, and some…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1918

Over one million black men and women served in the military during the second World War. Artist William Henry Johnson's images of the war often pictured soldiers in training camps, but this piece shows a family separating as a soldier departs for the war. The influence of modern abstraction and of the New Negro Movement, in which African-American…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: Circa 1942

African Americans were faced with conflicting loyalties during the Revolutionary War, with some joining the British side in hopes of escaping from slavery, while many others remained loyal to the Patriot cause. While it's difficult to know the exact numbers, an army report in 1778 listed 755 African Americans serving in the Continental Army; the…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1781

In this letter, John Laurens asks his father, South Carolina slaveowner Henry Laurens, to give him several slaves in lieu of his inheritance, so that he can arm them to fight in the Continental army.

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Item Type: Diary/Letter
Date: 1778

A white veteran of the Revolutionary War, known only as "Dr. Harris," delivered this speech before the Congregational and Presbyterian Anti-Slavery Society in New Hampshire in 1842.

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1842

This anonymous letter, to the Wisconsin Weekly Advocate by a black soldier, probably from the 24th or 25th infantry, denounces the behavior of Americans in the Philippines following its acquisition from the Spanish. He states that having seen the abuses first hand, the grievances against the American occupiers are justified.

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Item Type: Newspaper/Magazine
Date: 1900