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How did African Americans contribute to World War 1?

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nikkyd | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 14, 2009 at 2:27 AM via web

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How did African Americans contribute to World War 1?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 14, 2009 at 2:42 AM (Answer #1)

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There were two major ways that African American men contributed to World War I.

First, African American men took many jobs in war industries -- jobs that had formerly been held by white men.  During the war, over 400,000 southern blacks started moving north to take jobs in factories.

Second, about 400,000 black men were in the Armed Forces during the war.  Because of the prejudices of the time, most of these men were not allowed to serve in combat units.  Instead, they were forced to work in menial jobs, doing things like unloading ships.  However, two divisions of black soldiers did go into combat. One under American command, did poorly.  The other, under French command distinguished itself.

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