Over There, Over There! | 1917

Black infantry troops, U.S. Army, World War I, 1917.

 

More than 350,000 African Americans served in segregated units during World War I, mostly as support troops. Several units, however, did see action alongside French soldiers fighting against the Germans, and 171 African Americans were awarded the French Legion of Honor.

 

In response to protests of discrimination and mistreatment from the black community, several hundred African American men received officers' training in Des Moines, Iowa. By October 1917, over six hundred African Americans were commissioned as captains and first and second lieutenants.

 

The title "Over There, Over There" references the lyrics to America's best-known World War One song, Over There, written by George M. Cohan in 1917.It proved a nationwide hit in the months immediately following America's enthusiastic entry into the war.

 

Vintage African American photography courtesy of Black History Album, The Way We Were.

 

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Taken on February 17, 2010