What were the experiences of African Americans after World War I?

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Many African Americans fought in World War I to do their part in the fight for global democracy. This was a pretty generous action, as African Americans were not experiencing many of the benefits of democracy in the US. Rather, they were treated as poorly as the way the worst authoritarian government treats its citizens. Still, they went to war and fought for freedom.

When these veterans returned home, they rightfully expected that their time spent serving abroad would be rewarded. They expected to have their rights expanded and wanted to have more freedom. However, that's not the way things happened. African American veterans were treated as poorly as ever when they returned from war.

In fact, some of them were treated even worse. Consider the story of Charles Lewis, an African American veteran of World War I. Only a month after his return from war, he was accused of theft. A mob of white folks stole him out of his jail cell and hanged him. They were responding to black veterans' desire for more rights and freedom with violence.

Charles Lewis's experience is emblematic of some of the worst discrimination and outright hate African Americans faced after World War I. They fought for the country's freedom yet were subjected to the same racism they had always experienced after returning from war.

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