Good afternoon lovelies!
It is time for me to spill the tea on discrimination in the World War I era. Look at me making puns about tea! Truthfully spilling actual tea would not be particularly pleasant, especially if one were to spill it on oneself. But i digress. Today's topic will shine some light upon the African Americans that gave their service to fight in the Great War. As said in this article by Chad Williams, the chair of the African & Afro-American Studies Department, that even though they were overshadowed, "the African-American experience in World War I was a tranformative moment in black history." Their involvement in the war paved the way for the Civil Rights Movement that was yet to come.
Though these black soldiers were discriminated against during and after the war,even enduring hostility upon returning from war, they set the bar for future generations who will later fight for racial equality. Within the article it discusses how the involvement of African Americans in World War I helped broaden their horizons both socially, politically and culturally. These soldiers were able to discover new lands that they themselves have never set foot on before. It opened their eyes to different cultures including France in which these soldiers met fellow African soldiers that they formed bonds with. They also were able to open France's ears too when they introduced jazz music, which became a hit there.
After the war, African-Americans were able to start the Great Migration which transformed the demographics of our great nation. These people wanted to escape the shackles of the oppressive political and social environment that the South had placed upon them. So unlike migrating Geese, they migrated North for a better opportunity. It was said to be a whopping 500,000 people that made the journey. Now that is what I call a Movement!
Now we cannot forget about the ladies of the war effort! They were just as important as the men when it came to fighting the good fight. Thanks to black women organizations set on the national and communal levels, African American soldiers were given support while in rigorous training camps. Not only that, but these women were in organizations such as the Red Cross, YMCA (now don't start dancing! This is hardly the time), and YWCA that helped these men when discrimination reared its ugly head into the mix. Women aided the men's wounds and nursed them back to health when the brutal war had beaten them. No longer did women only just tend to the children, cook and clean, but they were out there fighting in their own way to aid their soldiers in battle.
Reading articles like this, it makes me truly grateful that African Americans were able to help fight alongside us in the Great War. This is one of the experiences that shows us that the colour of someone's skin does not dictate who they are or the abilities they possess . Without these brave men and women, our fight against the Central Powers may not have turned out the exact same. Their involvement in the war set the way for future movements that revolutionized our nation into the Melting Pot it was meant to be. Equality may still to be won in some areas in this day and age, but if we take the example our brave African American brothers and sisters set for us, we can accomplish it. Hats off to them!