African-American Soldiers Fought for Freedoms Denied to Them at Home

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — They fought for freedoms that they didn’t have themselves while serving our country. 

Many of us know the history of World War I and II, but maybe less familiar with the double meaning the wars had for African-American soldiers. 

They fought overseas for America’s freedom while struggling for civil rights in America. Now service members like Benjamin O. Davis senior, the first African-American general in the U.S. Military are honored at the National African-American History and Culture Museum. Curator Krewasky Salters says the exhibit “Double Victory” shares stories of the two battles facing black troops during segregation.

They were not only fighting for themselves but for equality for their community and equality for a great America.

Photos and artifacts in this exhibit introduce visitors to barrier breakers like Charles Young.

“He’s the third African-American to graduate from West Point in 1889 

By World War II, the number of African-Americans enlisted or drafted rose significantly. Salters say leaving rural areas in the south to serve overseas had a unique  impact on black soldiers.  

They were treated with a level of equality that they had never received back home. So that caused some American soldiers not to come back to America 

But most did return to the U.S., among them was Medger Evers,  who was the first field secretary for the NAACP, and worked to end segregation at the University of Missippi before making he ultimate sacrifice.

Medgar Evers was assassinated in his driveway in 1963.

Salters says it’s important to tell their stories today so we don’t forget all the things African-Americans fought for abroad and at home. 

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