Black Soldiers W.W.II Photo Archive
Photo ArchiveAfrican American Troops Photo Archive of Sixteen photographs of black US troops in the 1940s in various locations, including France. Mostly sepia toned silver gelatin Photos plus one real photo postcard, Size range from 2" x 3" to 3.5" x 5". Most of the men in these photos wear the standard issue enlisted soldier's summer khaki uniforms and side caps. One interesting pairing is two black and white photos of young black Army soldiers, one of whom is a sergeant, each pictured with their white girlfriends outside a French poster of the 1939 film The Oklahoma Kid. This suggests they were part of the Allied garrisons who secured France after its liberation from the Nazis in 1944. Many black troops in Europe experienced a more accepting racial climate, especially if they were originally from the Jim Crow South. This cross-cultural exchange seemed to positive for both sides, with a 2021 analysis showing that areas in which Black G.I.'s were posted saw a decline in allegiance to far-right, nativist parties post-war. In England, despite some individual efforts, the UK government made no attempt to enforce the segregation that was encoded into American military and society, and black GI's openly fraternized with their fellow white soldiers and British civilians. This experience undoubtedly informed the returning GI's that American systematic discrimination was more aberrant than normal. Based on the uniforms, we estimate that these photographs were taken primarily during and immediately after WW.II, but some could potentially be from the Korean War. A few photos have toning at margins and some paper residue from their removal from an album on verso, but generally the images are clear. In good condition overall.
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