Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

African Americans in World War I

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True Sons of Freedom

Courtesy of the Library of Congress

World War I has been called "the Great War" and "the War to End All Wars." Upon entering the conflict in 1917, the U.S. government began to describe it as a war to "Make the World Safe for Democracy." To sell the war to an isolationist American public, the Committee on Public Information, under the direction of George Creel, undertook a massive propaganda campaign defaming German "Huns" and extolling American heroism. Published in Chicago in 1918 by Charles Gustrine, this poster shows African American soldiers routing their German foes, beneath a head-and-shoulders portrait of Abraham Lincoln with the quote "Liberty and Freedom Shall Not Perish. " Despite this noble sentiment, many black soldiers faced discrimination, segregation, and the threat of violence after completing their service and returning to their homes.

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