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serbian day 1918 cover photoOn July 28th in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson gave the order to fly the flag of Serbia over the White House to reflect the solidarity of Americans with the Serbian people during World War I. 

When the Serbian Flag Flew Over the White House during WWI

By U.S. Embassy in Belgrade
via the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia web site

On July 28th in 1918, upon the advice of his good friend Mihajlo Pupin, President Woodrow Wilson gave the order to fly the flag of Serbia over the White House. This was one of a number of acts that reflected the solidarity of Americans with the Serbian people who suffered so tremendously during the First World War.

At the start of the conflict, thousands of young Americans of Serbian descent volunteered to cross the Atlantic and fight shoulder-to-shoulder with their cousins. Malvina Hoffmann’s famous poster urged people to make donations to assist the people of Serbia. Pupin, Mabel Grujić, and others collected not only money, but also thousands of tons of humanitarian aid for the poor and for displaced refugees from Serbia. The Columbia Relief Expedition, organized by Pupin, delivered medicine, food, agricultural tools, and seed to the war zone, as well as dozens of cars to deliver aid and also serve as ambulances.

Dr. Richard Strong, director of the Harvard School of Tropical Medicine and one of the world’s preeminent epidemiologists, headed the medical mission, organized by the Rockefeller Foundation and the American Red Cross, that came to Serbia to halt the deadly spread of typhus.

The philanthropist John Frothingham and his wife Jelena Lozanić donated a fully equipped field hospital sent to Skopje. After the war, the couple set up a home for war orphans in Vranje.

Dr. Rosalie Morton, special commissioner of the Red Cross, not only tended to Serbian soldiers on the battlefields. She also stayed behind after the war ended in order​ to set up the first women’s hospital in Belgrade. 

Read more: When the Serbian Flag Flew Over the White House in WWI

 

Baseball resumed after World War I on Patriots Day in Boston

By Dixie Tourangeau
via The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) web site

No matter your perspective, the 1919 Patriots Day opening day doubleheader at Braves Field just didn’t feel the same as those previously played in the twentieth century. Many things swirled in the festive atmosphere that April 19, including the lingering sweet aroma of the January 15 molasses tank explosion/flood tragedy in the North End that killed 21 workers and residents. World War I officially ended five months before (the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until June 1919) but more importantly, the devastating Spanish Flu epidemic was finally beginning to wane in the Hub, once Ground Zero for it. Every day ships entered Boston Harbor with returning troops from Europe, bringing joy and relief to awaiting households, but they docked in the midst of continuing pandemic burials.

Boston Globe Sun Apr 20 1919Added to the day’s headline mix was the ongoing New England telephone and telegraph operators strike. That inconvenient chaos was colliding with the traditional Patriots Day (state holiday officially legislated in 1894) celebrations, sandwiched between between solemn Good Friday and Lent-ending Easter.1 Baseball did not take a back-row chair, as there were more than 50 college and high-school games on tap. Dozens of schools vied for attention with various other amateur athletic events including the 22nd Boston Marathon, by then basking in its own national fame.

Baseball normally enjoyed a lofty perch in this carnival of leisure, but in preseason 1919 the moguls were very concerned that fans might still be depressed about the war, the flu carnage, and the shortened 1918 season. They didn’t know how much turnstile enthusiasm to expect. Newly appointed National League President John A. Heydler was there to witness the event at the invitation of George Washington Grant, who had bought the Braves in January.

The NL’s first pitch of 1919 mirrored those tossed in 1897 and 1901, the only opening pitch thrown that day. Baseball’s other combatants, as well as these two teams, would not convene for four more days. Conflicting Boston season openers were in vogue in 1902-03 when the two rival leagues battled over the signing (and stealing) of players. The NL Beaneaters played two games with Brooklyn in 1902 while the upstart American League Bostons hosted Baltimore in a solo tilt. An awkward duel occurred in 1903 when both Boston squads played twin bills with their respective Philadelphia foes. This happened on April 20 because the 19th was a Sunday — no pro ball was allowed.2 A reasonable compromise apparently ended the one-day economic pettiness in 1904 and beyond as the Beaneaters traveled to Brooklyn and the Americans had the city’s cranks all to themselves. After that, the NL Doves/Rustlers/Braves drew the odd years for a lucrative Patriots Day gate and the Americans/Red Sox got the even years.

Read more: Baseball resumed after World War I on Patriots Day in Boston

 

poster mods Clara AranovichWorld War I posters re-created by filmmaker and writer Clara Aranovich, who altered American propaganda posters from World War I to include calls for people to wear face masks against the Covid-19 pandemic. (United States National War Garden Commission, 1918; Z.P. Nikolaki, Library of Congress, 1918; Clara Aranovich)  

Artist turns WWI posters into calls for Americans to wear face masks, and the images are striking 

By Darcy Schild
via the Insider web site

A series of retro illustrations offer a modern take on American propaganda posters from World War I — showing what the images might have looked like if they were made to promote mask-wearing to try to contain the novel coronavirus.

Clara Aranovich, a writer and filmmaker who has also worked as a period researcher for the TV series "Mad Men," is the brains behind the re-created posters, which have been shared thousands of times on Instagram since early July.

Aranovich told Insider her artwork was meant to inspire a sense of camaraderie in the same way many people united to support America's efforts in World War I, which included actions like rationing supplies to partaking in "meatless" and "wheatless" days.

Aranovich's idea for the art came in June, when the US reached a harrowing statistic. The number of Americans who had died from causes linked to the coronavirus surpassed the number of Americans who were killed in World War I.

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, 116,516 Americans died in World War I, with 53,402 deaths occurring in battle and 63,114 fatalities occurring in other forms of service. At the time of writing, there were 142,350 COVID-19-related deaths in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker.

The posters Aranovich modified were originally distributed around 1917 and 1918, when the US became involved in World War I. She modernized them by overlaying face masks and editing the text to include calls for people to wear face coverings in public.

"I wanted to point to the repetition of history," Aranovich said. "I was inspired to contrast the pandemic with other major events that have united our country."

Read more: An artist turned World War I posters into calls for Americans to wear face masks, and the images...

 

George Lawson Keene: Most decorated Texan of ‘The Great War’

By Bartee Haile
via The Courier newspaper (Montgomery County, TX) web site

On July 22, 1917, a young soldier from East Texas was recovering from serious wounds, while coping with the effects of a mustard gas attack 72 hours after fighting his second two-day battle in seven weeks.

George Lawson KeeneGeorge Lawson KeeneGeorge Lawson Keene, who always went by his middle name, grew up in his birthplace of Crockett. His roots ran deep in the Piney Woods with both parents direct descendants of early settlers.

Lawson listened for hours on end to vivid accounts of the Civil War, as told by a grandfather. Even more enthralling were second-hand stories about a great-grandfather, who took part in the Mier Expedition of 1842 and survived the infamous Black Bean Lottery that decided who lived and who died during their Mexican captivity.

To hear Keene’s relatives tell it, he served as a page for a spell in the Texas house of representatives before his high school graduation in 1914 at age 16. He intended to follow in his father’s footsteps and attend at Texas A&M, but the war in Europe and what looked like the inevitable involvement of the U.S. changed his plans.

Lawson Keene enlisted in the Army in San Antonio in March 1917. His basic training was cut short by the strengthening of the military presence along the Rio Grande after German “advisors” were spotted with Mexican government troops. That deployment did not last long either following the U.S. declaration of war on April 4.

Two months later, Keene was on the first ship of “Doughboys” that sailed to France. Like any wet-behind-the-ears soldier, he expected to jump into the fight right off the gangplank. But to their disappointment, the Texan and his comrades-in-arms in the Twenty-Eighth Infantry spent the next 11 months far from the front lines learning the “art of war” and impatiently waiting their turn.

The Americans finally got their chance on May 28, 1918 at the strategic French village of Cantigny. The battle raged for two full days with both sides taking heavy casualties including Keene’s unit.

Read more: George Lawson Keene Most decorated Texan of ‘The Great War’

 

 White House Protestors NARA Image copyWhite House Protestors – At the time, a peaceful protest outside the White House in support of women’s suffrage was considered a radical action. When the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution took effect on Aug. 26, 1920, it followed more than a century and a half of activism largely led by women. Its passage was deeply influenced by the significant involvement of women at home and abroad during World War I.

Centennial of 19th Amendment Exhibition Opens at National WWI Museum and Memorial

By Mike Vietti
Director of Marketing, Communications and Guest Services, National World War I Museum and Memorial

KANSAS CITY, MO. – The National WWI Museum and Memorial commemorates the centennial of the 19th Amendment, prohibiting the denial of voting rights on account of gender, with a new exhibition dedicated to telling the story of the women’s suffrage movement.

Votes & Voices explores the history of the fight for women’s right to vote, largely from the perspective of those who fought for enfranchisement more than 100 years ago. Presented by PNC Bank, the exhibition opens Wednesday, July 29 at the Museum and Memorial.

“World War I and the women’s suffrage movement are inextricably tied together,” National WWI Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor said. “These two events changed not only the role of women in American society, but also set the stage for the next century of activism.”

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution paved the way for more than a century of social change. The passage and ratification of the amendment was deeply influenced by women’s significant involvement in World War I, on battlefronts and homefronts.

From working in munitions factories, to volunteering with the YMCA and American Red Cross, to serving in the U.S. Army Signal Corps, to working as physicians and nurses, American women of many ethnicities were not only indelible to the success of the Allies, but also are integral to the global story of World War I. I

Following decades of vicious opposition—even among those who agreed on women’s enfranchisement —U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared passage of the 19th Amendment “a vitally necessary war measure” on Sept. 30, 1918, nearly 18 months after the U.S. entered World War I. Wilson recognized the important sacrifice and service of women during the war, and equally understood that in order for the U.S. to “lead the world to democracy” action, not just words, was required.

Read more: New Exhibition Commemorating the Centennial of the 19th Amendment Opens at National WWI Museum and...

 

CampsLocations of Army training camps in the U.S. in 1918. WWI mobilization drew millions of Americans into military institutions and extended the military into all corners of the country.

The U.S. Military and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918–1919 

By Carol R. Byerly, Ph.D.
via the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health web site

The American military experience in World War I and the influenza pandemic were closely intertwined. The war fostered influenza in the crowded conditions of military camps in the United States and in the trenches of the Western Front in Europe. The virus traveled with military personnel from camp to camp and across the Atlantic, and at the height of the American military involvement in the war, September through November 1918, influenza and pneumonia sickened 20% to 40% of U.S. Army and Navy personnel. These high morbidity rates interfered with induction and training schedules in the United States and rendered hundreds of thousands of military personnel non-effective. During the American Expeditionary Forces' campaign at Meuse-Argonne, the epidemic diverted urgently needed resources from combat support to transporting and caring for the sick and the dead. Influenza and pneumonia killed more American soldiers and sailors during the war than did enemy weapons.

In the fall of 1918, U.S. Army and Navy medical officers in camps across the country presided over the worst epidemic in American history, but the story was not new. War and disease have been linked throughout history as armies, weapons, and human pathogens have met on the battlefield. The conquistadores brought with them diseases that devastated the New World; typhus plagued Napoleon's armies; and typhoid fever humiliated the American Army during the Spanish-American War. But now U.S. Army and Navy personnel knew how to test and sanitize water supplies, vaccinate troops against typhoid and smallpox, and treat or prevent other infections. Modern bacteriology, it seemed, had tamed many diseases. Navy Surgeon General William C. Braisted proudly stated that “infectious diseases that formerly carried off their thousands, such as yellow fever, typhus, cholera, and typhoid, have all yielded to our modern knowledge of their causes and our consequent logical measures taken for their prevention.”1

Twentieth-century warfare, however, had evolved to an even more deadly scale as industrialized armies of millions battled on the plains of Eastern Europe, the cliffs of Gallipoli, and in the deadly trenches of the 550-mile-long Western Front. When the European arms race exploded into war in 1914, the empires shocked themselves and the world with the killing power of their artillery and machine guns, their U-boats and mines, and their poison gas. These new weapons generated new, horrible injuries that took life and limb in a flash or festered into gangrenous wounds that could further maim and kill. The carnage traumatized some men into shellshock, and poison gases burned and suffocated others so horribly that nurses dreaded caring for them because they could provide little comfort. War diseases—notably the soldiers' nemeses diarrhea, dysentery, and typhus—flourished, and the trenches offered new maladies such as “trench foot,” an infection caused by wearing sodden boots and standing in water and mud for days on end, and “trench fever,” a debilitating fever transmitted by body lice.

Then, in the fourth dreadful year of the war, as the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) assumed fighting strength and prepared their first great offensive against the Germans, the flu struck. By the War Department's most conservative count, influenza sickened 26% of the Army—more than one million men—and killed almost 30,000 before they even got to France.2,3 On both sides of the Atlantic, the Army lost a staggering 8,743,102 days to influenza among enlisted men in 1918.4 (p. 1448) The Navy recorded 5,027 deaths and more than 106,000 hospital admissions for influenza and pneumonia out of 600,000 men, but given the large number of mild cases that were never recorded, Braisted put the sickness rate closer to 40%.5,6 (p. 2458)

Read more: The U.S. Military and the Influenza Pandemic of 1918–1919

 

Sahler Presentation Service Record Presentation VFW MagazineFrom left to right, Joseph Felice stands beside Cpl. Sahler's third-cousin once removed Corson Stephens, who holds a framed certificate of service issued by the National Archives. They are joined by VFW Post 287 Commander Tiffany Robinson (middle) and VFW Post 287 Chaplain Claresa Whitfield during the Post's Centennial Celebration on Dec. 7 of last year. 

Local citizen helps VFW post commemorate its WWI namesake

By IsmaeI Rodriguez, Jr.
via the Veterans of Foreign War magazine

When Joseph Felice drove through Main Street in Coatesville, Pa., last summer, he was drawn to one of the many pennant banners dangling above its sidewalks.

He had seen the banners several times since VFW Post 287 lobbied to have them hung for Memorial Day in his hometown of Coatesville, about 44 miles west of
Philadelphia.

But this time was different.

Felice, 35, who holds degrees in local and world history from West Chester University in Chester County, Pa., noticed that only one of the banners had been dedicated to a World War I veteran.

"It grabbed my attention because as far as I could determine, it displayed the only local WWI veteran," Felice said. "All of the other banners had been in honor of men and women who served in Vietnam, Korea and World War 11."

Inscribed on the banner was the name of Army Cpl. Wellington G. Sahler, who had been killed in action during the Battle of Meuse-Argonne in 1918.

The Journey Begins

When Felice returned home that day, he reached out to Post 287 via Facebook and discovered that Sahler was actually the Post's namesake. The other half of the Post's name, Sedan, represented the Eastern-most point that U.S. forces had reached in France before the Armistice was signed.

"I discussed my interest in Sahler with Post Chaplain Claresa Whitfield," Felice said. "We exchanged several emails, but she informed me that little was actually known about his personal history."

Whitfield, however, asked Felice to delve into research and invited him to present his findings in front of VFW members during the Post's 100th anniversary on Dec. 7, 2019.

Accepting the challenge, Felice soon plunged into a six-month journey that navigated the muddy waters of the past.

Read more: Local citizen helps VFW post commemorate its namesake

 

World War I Hero Featured in New AUSA Graphic Novel 

via the Association of the United States Army web site

Sgt. Henry Johnson, a member of the famed “Harlem Hellfighters,” is the subject of the newest graphic novel in the Association of the U.S. Army’s series highlighting Medal of Honor recipients.

Graphic nover cover JohnsonMedal of Honor: Henry Johnson features the story of Johnson, who served on the Western Front of World War I with the 369th Infantry Regiment, an African American unit that later became known as the “Harlem Hellfighters.”

While on sentry duty, Johnson fought off a German raiding party in hand-to-hand combat, despite being seriously wounded. He was the first American to receive a Croix de Guerre with a golden palm, France’s highest award for bravery, and became a national hero back home.

“Henry Johnson was a household name during World War I, but he has been largely forgotten since then,” said Joseph Craig, director of AUSA’s Book Program. “It took almost a century to recognize his remarkable deeds with the Medal of Honor, and we are excited to share them with a new audience.”

AUSA launched its Medal of Honor graphic novel series in October 2018, producing four issues and a paperback collection. Four new issues are planned for this year; the first, on World War II hero 2nd Lt. Daniel Inouye, was released May 28.

On May 15, 1918, Johnson, then a private with Company C, 369th Infantry Regiment, was on night sentry duty with fellow soldier Pvt. Neadom Roberts when they were attacked by a German raiding party of at least 12 soldiers, according to his Medal of Honor citation.

Under intense enemy fire and despite “significant wounds,” Johnson fought back and caused several enemy casualties. He also prevented a badly wounded Roberts from being taken prisoner by German troops.

Johnson then exposed himself to “grave danger” by advancing from his position to engage an enemy soldier in hand-to-hand combat.

“Wielding only a knife and gravely wounded himself, Private Johnson continued fighting and took his Bolo knife and stabbed it through an enemy soldier’s head,” according to the citation. “Displaying great courage, Private Johnson held back the enemy force until they retreated.”

After returning home from the war, Johnson was unable to return to his pre-war job as a redcap porter at Union Station in Albany, New York, because of the severity of his 21 combat wounds. He died in July 1929 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Johnson was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart in 1996 and the Distinguished Service Cross in 2002. The award was upgraded to the Medal of Honor in 2015.

Read more: WWI Hero Featured in New AUSA Graphic Novel

 

SC radio images 

South Carolina Public Radio replays World War I programs

In July, South Carolina Public Radio replays three programs about World War I and South Carolina, hosted by Dr. Walter Edgar.  The replays can be listened to online.

"Fighting on Two Fronts: Black South Carolinians in World War I" features Dr. Janet Hudson from the University of South Carolina joining Dr. Edgar for a public Conversation on Black South Carolinian in World War I. Upon the United States' entrance into World War I, President Woodrow Wilson told the nation that the war was being fought to "make the world safe for democracy." For many African-American South Carolinians, the chance to fight in this war was a way to prove their citizenship, in hopes of changing things for the better at home. Click here to read more, and listen to the replay.

"South Carolina in WWI: The Military" Dr. Andrew Myers from the University of South Carolina Upstate joining Dr. Edgar for a public Conversation on South Carolina History, World War I. With the United States’ entrance into World War I, three Army training bases were set up in South Carolina. The social and economic impact on a state still suffering from the devastation of the Civil War was dramatic. Three infantry divisions, including support personnel, swelled the Upstate and Midlands population by 90,000. On the coast, recruits flocked to Charleston’s Navy base. And some of those trainees were African Americans, which caused political turmoil and civil strife in a Jim Crow state. Click here to read more, and listen to the replay.

"Conversations on S.C. History: Women and World War I" features Dr. Amy McCandless, professor emerita of history at the College of Charleston, joining Dr. Edgar for a public conversation on S.C. Women during the war. Prior to that World War I, South Carolina was a predominantly rural state, with a Black majority populaltion. The typical S.C. woman in 1916 was Black, and, if she was employed, she was likely an agricultural worker or a domestic worker. If she was White, a working woman was likely on the farm or in a textile mill. There was a quite small middle class where working women might be employed as teachers or a nurses; a few were clerical workers. The United States' entry into World War I offered women, White and Black, new opportunities. Click here to read more, and listen to the replay.

Dr. Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio. He received his A.B. degree from Davidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the Army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the History Department and in 1980 was named director of the Institute for Southern Studies. Dr. Edgar is the Claude Henry Neuffer Professor of Southern Studies and the George Washington Distinguished Professor of History. He retired from USC in 2012. He has written or edited numerous books about South Carolina and the American South.

 

BRCC WWI Animals CigaretteMutt, a French Bulldog belonging to the YMCA Cigarette Dog delivery service, was wounded twice while trying to improve the morale of soldiers in the U.S. Army's 11th Engineers during World War I. 

Mutt the Cigarette-Delivering French Bulldog & Other Animals of World War I 

By Matt Fratus
via the coffeeordie.com web site of the Black Rifle Coffee Company

During World War I, a plethora of “good boys” and dog breeds participated in tasks that would be deemed unusual in today’s modern wars. Among them were dogs who pulled carts with machine guns on the other end, while others hauled supplies. Bruce, a black-and-white British companion, acted as a messenger running urgent orders up and down the Western Front. Rats were a nuisance in the muddy trenches and were so prevalent that the French trained smaller dogs as rat-catchers. Mutt, a French Bulldog belonging to the YMCA Cigarette Dog delivery service, was wounded twice while trying to improve the morale of soldiers in the 11th Engineers. 

“No longer could he travel so fast or use the bullet-dodging gait his trainer had taught him,” wrote Albert Payson Terhune, a dog breeder and war reporter, who had witnessed the bravery of Satan, a French messenger dog. “[But he] refused to die while his errand was still uncompleted and … he was too loyal to quit.”

Satan wore a gas mask over his snout, held two baskets of carrier pigeons on the back of his vest, and dashed through no man’s land toward an advanced French position. The commander scribbled in two separate notes of the coordinates of nearby gun batteries and German emplacements, rolled them tightly, and attached each to two of the carrier pigeons. Satan, although his role was small, helped give the men the advantage to survive another day during the Battle of Verdun.

The most widely known “war dog” of World War I was Sergeant Stubby, a short bull terrier mutt. He was the first dog to achieve rank in the U.S. military, and his exploits included comforting wounded soldiers on the battlefield, using his bark to warn soldiers of potential infantry and gas attacks, and he even captured a German soldier. Stubby spent 210 days total in combat and withered 17 enemy engagements while serving with the 26th Division — the most battle-hardened American infantry division of the war. 

The 79th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces, commonly referred to as “Philadelphia’s Own,” adopted a stray puppy, named her Philly,” and smuggled her to France. Like Stubby, Philly barked to warn of sneak attacks. She was twice wounded during her service, once by poisonous gas and another time by gunfire. Philly retired to live with Sergeant Charles J. Hermann and wore her two Purple Hearts proudly when she attended parades and reunions. Following her death in 1932, she was immortalized in taxidermy and is now displayed at the Philadelphia History Museum at Atwater Kent.

Read more: Mutt the Cigarette-Delivering French Bulldog & Other Animals of World War I

 

Rickey RobinsonBranch Rickey (left, as general manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, in 1941) served in the U.S. Army in World War I, one of many major league players who did. In October 1945, as general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey signed infielder Jackie Robinson (right), an African American, for the Dodgers' minor league organization. Rickey was said to have appreciated the service and sacrifices African Americans made during World War I and II, and he was eager to enlist their services in baseball.  Robinson served in the U.S. Army in World War II.

World War I Soldier Helped Desegregate Baseball 

By David Vergun
via the defense.gov web site

Branch Rickey was an Army officer in the Chemical Warfare Service during World War I. In his unit, coincidentally, were future baseball greats Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson. Rickey would also take a place in baseball history, thanks to his decision to do the right thing.

In October 1945, as general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Rickey signed infielder Jackie Robinson, an African American, for the Dodgers' minor league organization. Robinson's later success with the Dodgers from 1947 to 1956 led other owners to seek Black talent.

This was before the U.S. military integrated, which happened July 26, 1948, after President Harry S. Truman signed an executive order establishing the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, committing the government to integrating the then-segregated military.

At the time, no statute barred Blacks from playing professional baseball. However, it was an unwritten rule among club owners that they were not welcome.

Rickey was said to have appreciated the service and sacrifices African Americans made during World War I and II, and he was eager to enlist their services in baseball.

He also remembered a Black player from the baseball team he coached at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1903 and 1904 who was denied hotel accommodations. The incident was said to have made him furious, and he personally intervened to let the player spend the night there.

Rickey later said: ''I may not be able to do something about racism in every field, but I can sure do something about it in baseball.'

Read more: WWI Soldier Helped Desegregate Baseball

 

video screen clipLargest WWI Mobile Museum travels across America but calls Marlow, Oklahoma home.  Pictured: museum curator Keith Arden Colley.

Largest WWI Mobile Museum travels across America but calls Marlow, OK home 

By Will Hutchison
via the KSWO ABC 7 television station (OK) web site

The WWI Mobile Museum is full of artifacts, pictures and displays.

“We’ve created a platform for our seniors and our veterans to come together and talk about their stories and their history and their background, especially our World War Two vets, as we all know we’re losing them every day. We’ve got Korea, we’ve got all the wars and unfortunately, we’ve got no one left from World War I. It gets the conversation started,” said museum curator Keith Arden Colley.

The entire museum sits inside one car and a trailer. Colley calls Marlow home but spends most of his time taking the museum anywhere and everywhere.

“We offer it to anybody. We’ve been to air shows, we’ve been to schools, love to go to schools. Basically, if someone wants us, we’ll make it happen,” Colley said.

Colley started this project several years ago after a conversation about World War One while working with people with Alzheimer’s.

“If you can awaken all five senses at one time, you’re going to get a better reaction from someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, so I thought you know what, he can talk to me about it but he needs to see and touch,” Colley said.

Colley then purchased his first WWI artifact - a shovel from Bulgaria.

“When I placed it into his hands he actually started crying because his dad brought his shovel home from WWI and it brought up all the stories, it was just a flood. I thought you know what, I need more artifacts,” Colley said.

Since then, Colley has purchased countless artifacts, taking them across the country to keep the history of WWI alive. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a hold on that, as he’s had to cancel 238 scheduled showings. But he’s spent that time making the museum better.

Read more: Largest WWI Mobile Museum travels across America but calls Marlow home

 

Johnson comic pageSgt. Henry Johnson a New York National Guard Soldier who was awarded the Medal of Honor Posthumously for his actions during World War I attacks a German Soldier in these panels from a "digital graphic novel" about Johnson released by the Association of the United States Army. Johnson, who worked as railroad porter in Albany, N.Y. was a member of the New York National Guard's 369th Infantry. He was awarded a heroism medal by the French Army, which the 369th fought with, but did not receive the United State's highest honor until 2015. (Photo Credit: Courtesy Association of the United States Army) 

Heroic Soldier's WWI story told in digital comic 

By Eric Durr, New York National Guard
via the army.mil web site

LATHAM, N.Y. – Sgt. Henry Johnson, the Albany resident whose World War I service in the New York National Guard’s 369th Infantry Regiment was recognized with the Medal of Honor almost a century later, is now the subject of a digital comic.

The 11-page comic tells the story of Johnson’s actions on May 14, 1918.

Johnson and Pvt. Needham Roberts were on outpost duty when a German raiding party attacked their position out in front of the trenches. The two Americans fought back with grenades and rifle fire, and when Roberts was knocked unconscious and the Germans tried to carry him away, Johnson attacked them with his bolo knife.

The 369th had been fighting with the French Army and Johnson was the first American to receive the French Croix de Guerre with a golden palm, France’s highest award for bravery. But the Medal of Honor eluded him until 2015 when it was presented posthumously by President Barack Obama.

The 369th Infantry was an African-American regiment in a segregated Army. The unit fought under French command because no American commander wanted them.

They went on to become one of the most decorated units in World War I.

The Henry Johnson digital comic is the sixth produced by the Association of the United States Army, known as AUSA for short, which focus on recipients of the Medal of Honor. 

Read more: Heroic Soldier's WWI story told in digital comic

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