One of the least researched and publicly presented subjects in the history of WWI has been the contributions of African American women both home and abroad. Throughout the war years, women of color contributed to the war effort in important ways individually and through services organizations including the YWCA and American Red Cross. One extraordinary contribution by an African American woman buried within the pages of WWI and American history, is the story of Dr. Harriet Alleyne Rice. Continue reading
By 1918, as America entered the First World War, the political and military consensus was that African American soldiers would not fight alongside white soldiers in combat. Although American soldiers of color were ready to fight and die for their country, many who would serve under an American flag would be relegated to supporting roles and labor regiments. The French however, had no misgivings about utilizing black troops. Allied American and French commanders agreed that segregated black regiments would fight with the French Army under the command of French commanding officers. Continue reading
From 1800 to 1860, Virginia had more slaves than any other state. African enslavement formed the very basis of Virginia’s successful plantation based economy of raising tobacco, and the more infamous cultivation and selling of slaves to states further south for use on rice and cotton plantations.
But during the late summer of 1831, Virginia’s notion of idyllic ante-bellum life came to a bloody halt with the Nat Turner Slave Rebellion. Nat Turner and his collaborators would start a slave uprising in Southampton Virginia that contributed to more deaths than any other slave revolt in United States’ history. Turner’s revolt prompted a dramatic debate in the Virginia General Assembly of 1832 that lead to the enactment of a series of laws to limit the activities of African Americans, both free and enslaved. These laws, historically referred to as “Negro Codes,” included slaves and even free persons of color being highly regulated by an onerous pass system. Continue reading