Smithsonian Voices

From the Smithsonian Museums

How Black Philadelphians Fought for Soldiers During World War I

Since the colonial era, in times of peace and war, the African American experience of inequality included being denied medical treatment equal to that received by white peers. Unequal treatment continued during World War I. Not even the era's increasing humanitarian efforts were immune to inequality. Groups like the Crispus Attucks Circle for War Relief, founded by Black Philadelphians, worked to help members of their own communities.

Many contemporaries argued that Black men had more than earned the right to vote through their military service in the Civil War. (NMAH)

In 1868, Black Suffrage Was on the Ballot