Emmett Jay Scott.

Scott's official history of the American Negro in the World War. A complete and authentic narration, from official sources, of the participation of American soldiers of the Negro race in the World War for democracy ... a full acount of the war work organizations of colored men and women and other ci online

. (page 1 of 49)
Online LibraryEmmett Jay ScottScott's official history of the American Negro in the World War. A complete and authentic narration, from official sources, of the participation of American soldiers of the Negro race in the World War for democracy ... a full acount of the war work organizations of colored men and women and other ci → online text (page 1 of 49)
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Special Assistant to Secretary of War

Author of "Tuskegee and Its People," "Is Liberia Worth Saving?" and
co-Author of "Booker T. Washington, Builder of a Civilization."

Secretary of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. Eighteen years
Pbivate Secbetary to the Late Booker T. Washington

A Complete and Authentic Narration, from Official Sources, of the
Participation of


in the


Profusely Illustrated

with Official Photographs

A Full Account of the War Work Organizations of Colored Men and Women
and other Civilian Activities including

The Red Cross, the Y. M. C. A., the Y. W. C. A. and the
War Camp Community Service

With Official Summary of Treaty of Peace and
League of Nations Covenant

Prefaced with Highest Tributes to the American Negro


HON. NEWTON D. BAKER, Secretary of War

GEN. JOHN J. PERSHING, Commander-in-Chief, American Exp. Forces,

and the late


Copyright, 1919, by Emmett J. Scott.



Underwood & Underwood; Paul Thompson; E. L. Snyder; Baker Art
Gallery; Western Newspaper Union; Scurlock; Committee on
Public Information J Beresford Studio; Emmett J. Scott;
WftT Camp Community Service ; Canfield & Shook ;
Webb Studio; International Film Ser-
vice; and others. All rights

JUL 17 1919

y d^









Author's Preface 9

Loyalty and Democracy of the Negro, by Secretary Baker 15

Tribute to the Negro Soldier, by General Pershing 16

The Negro's Part in the War, by Theodore Roosevelt 17

CHAPTER I. — How the Great War Came to America 23

The Underlying Causes of the War — Racial Hatreds and National Enmities
— Germany's Ambition to Rule the World — The Gathering of the War
Clouds — Germany's Attempt to Stir Up Trouble Between the United States
and Mexico — Events that Led to America's Participation In the War.

CHAPTER II.— The Call to the Colors 32

Negro Troops that Were Ready When War Was Declared — The Famous
9th and 10th Cavalry, U. S. Army— The 24th and 25th Infantry— National
Guard Units of Colored Troops — The 8th Illinois — The 15th New York —
National Guard Units of Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, and
Tennessee — First Separate Battalion of the District of Columbia — How All
of These Responded to the Call.

CHAPTER III. — Official Recognition of the Negro's Interest. 40

Appointment of Emmett J. Scott as Special Assistant to the Secretary of
War — DifBculties Encountered in Establishing the Negro's Status — Oppor-
tunities Afforded for Effective Work on Behalf of Negro Soldiers — Better
Opportunities for Negro OflScers, Soldiers, Nurses, Surgeons, and Others
Obtained Through This Official Connection.

CHAPTER IV. — The Work of the Special Assistant 51

Guarding the Interests of Negro Soldiers and Civilians — Promoting a
Healthy Morale — Cases of Alleged Discrimination Against Negro Draftees —
The Edward Merchant Case — The John D. Wray Case — How Justice Was
Secured — A War Department Inquiry — Training of Colored Officers.

CHAPTER V. — The Negro in the National Army 66

Selective Service Law the Most Complete Recognition of the Citizenship
of the Negro, North and South — All the Duties and Responsibilities of
Patriots Imposed Upon the Negro by the Draft Act — Tribute by the Provost
Marshal General to the Colored Soldier — Assignment of Negro Draftees to


CHAPTER VI. — A Critical Situation in the Camps 75

Race Problems that Had to be Solved— Fear of the Southern Whites that
Trouble Would Follow the Training of Negro Troops in the South-
Situation Complicated by the Houston Riot— Protest of the Governor of
South Carolina — Dr. Scott Called to Spartanburg, S. C, to Allay Trouble
There — How the Negro Soldier Finally Won the Respect and Confidence
of the South.

CHAPTER VII.— Colored Officers and How They Were Trained 82

First Officers' Training Camp for Colored Men at Fort Des Moines, Iowa-
Major J. E. Spingarn's Fight for the Establishment of This Camp — Methods
of Training Reserve Officers — Negro Educational Institutions Furnish
Personnel — Seven Hundred Colored Officers Commissioned at Fort Des

CHAPTER VIII. — Treatment of Negro Soldiers in Camp 92

Men from the South Sent to Northern Camps to Face a Hard Winter —
Attempts at Discrimination Against Negro Soldiers and Officers — Firm
Stand of the Secretary of War Against Race Discrimination — General
Ballou's "Bulletin No. 35" — Members of Draft Boards Dismissed for Dis-
crimination Against the Race.

CHAPTER IX. — Efforts to Improve Conditions 105

Secretary Baker and the Trying Situation at Camp Lee, Virginia — Reports
on Investigations at Numerous Camps — Improved Conditions Brought
About Gradually — The Case of Lieutenant Tribbett and Similar Cases of
Race Prejudice,

CHAPTER X. — Negro Soldiers of France and England 117

French Colored Colonials the First Black Soldiers to Take Part In the
War — The Story of These Senegalese Fighters — Their Important Part from
the Beginning of the War — The Fight for the African Colonies — German
Employment of Negro Troops in the Early Part of the War.

CHAPTER XL— The Negro Combat DmsiON 130

Full Detailed Account of the Organization and Fighting Campaigns of
the Famous Ninety-Second, as Recorded by the Division's Official His-
torian — Complete Official Reports of Every Battle In Which the Ninety-
Second Took Part — Commendation by Commanding Officers.

CHAPTER XII.— Citations and Awards, 92nd Division 173

Officers and Men of the Famous Negro Division Whose Heroic Conduct
Gained for Them the Distinguished Service Cross — Details of Their Deeds
of Heroism in Action — Special Mention of Officers and Men by Various
Commanding Officers.

CHAPTER XIII.— The Story op *'The Buffaloes" 190

Glorious Record of the 367th Infantry Regiment — Colonel James A. Moss —
Presentation of Colors by the Union League Club — "The Buffaloes" in
France — How They "Saw It Through" at Metz — Their Heroic Conduct
Under Fire — Regimental Colors Decorated by Order of the French High
Command — A Tribute from France to "These Sunburned Americans."


CHAPTER XIV.— Record of "The Old Fifteenth" 197

The Glorious Story of the 369th United States Infantry, Formerly of the
New York National Guard— The Regiment That Never Lost a Man Cap-
tured, a Trench, or a Foot of Ground— First Negro Troops to Go into
Action in France.

CHAPTER XV.—' ' The Eighth Illinois" 214

story of the 370th U. S. Infantry— Another Negro National Guard Regi-
ment that Won Distinction on the Battlefield— Chicago's Colored Fighters-
Called "Black Devils" by the Germans and "Partridges" by the French
Because of Their Proud Bearing— First American Troops to March into
the Fortified City of Laon— Their Stubborn Resistance at the Oise-Aisne

CHAPTER XVI.-— The 371st Infantry in France 231

How This Colored Regiment of the "Red Hand" Division Helped to Win
the War — Service in the Trenches under General Goybet — In the Great
Champagne Offensive — Fierce Fighting and Heavy Losses — The Regiment
Decorated by the French — Individual Citations and Awards.

CHAPTER XVII.— The Record of the 372nd 239

A Regiment Made Up of National Guard Troops and Drafted Men — ^Attached
to the Famous French "Red Hand" Division — Its Splendid Record in
France — At Hill 304 — Heroic Exploits of Individuals — The Regiment Dec-
orated with the Croix de Guerre — Citations and Awards.

CHAPTER XVIII.— Negro Heroes of the War 256

The Exploit of Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts — How One American
Soldier in No-Man's Land Killed Four Germans and Wounded Twenty-
Eight Others Single-Handed — First American Soldiers to Receive the
French Croix de Guerre — Other Instances of Individual Heroism by Negro

CHAPTER XIX.— The Negro Soldier as a Fighter 274

Unanimous Praise by Military Observers — Value of Negroes as Shock
Troops — Discipline and Morale Under Fire — What the War Correspondents
Said About Them — Comments by Foreign Military Observers — Estimates
by American and French Officers.

CHAPTER XX.— With Our Soldiers in France 284


Official Reports of the Only Accredited Negro War Correspondent — Ralph
W. Tyler, Representative with the A. E. F. of the U. S. Committee on Public
Information— The Story of the Life and Fighting of American Negro
Soldiers in France as Seen by This Trained Observer.

CHAPTER XXI.— Negro Music That Stirred France 300

Recognition of the Value of Music by the U. S. War Department— The
Patriotic Music of Colored Americans— Lieutenant James Europe and His
Famous "Jazz" Band — Other Leaders and Aggregations of Musicians —
Enthusiasm of the French People and Officers for American Music as
Interpreted by These Colored Artists and Their Bandsmen.


CHAPTER XXII.— The Negro in the Service of Supply 315

A Vast Army of Colored Stevedores In France — Their Important and
Efficient Work — Essential to the Combatant Army in the Trenches — Their
Loyalty and Cheerfulness — Important Lessons Learned In the War — The
Labor Battalions — Well-Earned Tributes to These Splendid Colored
Workers Overseas.

CHAPTER XXIII.— "With Those Who Wait" 328

Provision for Technical Training of Draftees — Units that Did Not Get to
France — Vocational and Educational Opportunities Opened to Them — The
Negro In the Students' Array Training Corps — In the Reserve Officers*
Training Corps.

CHAPTER XXIV. — German Propaganda Among Negroes 344

Insidious Efforts to Create Dissatisfaction Among Colored Americans —
Germany's Treacherous Promises — How the Hun Tried to Undermine the
Loyalty of Our Negro Citizens — Steps Taken to Combat Enemy Propa-
ganda — Work of the Committee on Public Information.

CHAPTER XXV.— How Colored Civilians Helped to Win 355

Their Co-operation in All the Liberty Loan Drives — The Negro and the
Red Cross — In the United War Work Campaign — How the Negroes Bought
War Savings Stamps — Special Contributions and Work of Colored Citi-
zens — The "Committee of One Hundred" and Its Valuable Work.

CHAPTER XXVI.— Negro Labor in War Time 365

Organization for War Work — The Division of Negro Economics — Pioneer
Work of Dr. George E. Haynes — Negro Representation in Council — Seeking
to Improve Race Relations — Good Work by Negroes in the Shipyards —
Attitude of Organized Labor — The Opportunities of the War.

CHAPTER XXVII.— Negro Women in War Work 374

Enthusiastic Service of Colored Women in the Wartime Emergency — Over-
coming the Problems of Race by Pure Patriotism — Work for the Red
Cross — The Young Women's Christian Association — The Colored Hostess
Houses and Rest Rooms for Soldiers — War Problems of Living — The Circle
for Negro War Relief — Colored Women in the Loan Drives — Important
Work in War Industries.

CHAPTER XXVIII.— Social Welfare Agencies 398

Important Welfare Work of the Young Men's Christian Association and
Other Organized Bodies — Negro Secretaries of the Y. M. C. A. — The Prob-
lem of Illiteracy in the Camps — The Social Secretaries — Results of Educa-
tion — The Y. W. C. A. Hostess Houses — The Knights of Columbus- -Caring
tor Returned Soldiers.

CHAPTER XXIX.— Negro Loyalty and Morale 411

Eager Response of Colored Draftees — Notable Tributes to the Patriotism
of the Negro Race by the White Press — Also by President Wilson, Secretary
Baker, Secretary Daniels and Others — Negro Loyalty Never Doubted —
Patriotic Negro Demonstrations and Other Instances of Loyalty.


CHAPTER XXX.— Did the Negro Soldier Get a Square Deal 1 426

Reports of "Widespread Discrimination and Harsh Treatment In Camp —
Many Manifestations of Prejudice by White Officers — The Question of
White or Negro Officers for Negro Regiments— Higher Officers of the Army
Usually Fair — Disinclination to Utilize Colored Nurses and Colored Medical
Men — Secretary Baker's Efforts to Prevent Race Discrimination — Reports
of Negro Observers on Conditions Overseas.

CHAPTER XXXI. — What the Negro Got Out op the War 458

A Keener Sense of His Rights and Privileges as a Citizen of the United
States— Racial Attitude of the South — Returning Negro Soldiers and Con-
ditions in the North — The Attitude of Organized Labor — Instances of Dis-
crimination — The Black Man and His Claims to Equal Treatment.

APPENDIX. — Colored Officers Commissioned at Ft. Des Moines 471

Colored Chaplains in the U. S. Army 482

Officlvl Summary of the Treaty of Peace 483

'Map of Central Europe Showing Territorial Changes Under the
Treaty , 502

Key to the Map 503

Final Changes in the Treaty 504

Chronology of the World War 505-512


The Negro, in the great World War for Freedom and Democracy,
has proved to be a notable and inspiring figure. The record and
achievements of this racial group, as brave soldiers and loyal citi-
zens, furnish one of the brightest chapters in American history.
The ready response of Negro draftees to the Selective Service calls —
together with the numerous patriotic activities of Negroes generally,
gave ample evidence of their whole-souled support and their 100
per cent Americanism. It is difficult to indicate which rendered the
greater service to their Country — the 400,000 or more of them who
entered active military service (many of whom fearlessly and vic-
toriously fought upon the battlefields of France) or the millions of
other loyal members of this race whose useful industry in fields,
factories, forests, mines, together with many other indispensable
civilian activities, so vitally helped the Federal authorities in carry-
ing the war to a successful conclusion.

When war against Germany was declared April 6, 1917, Negro
Americans quickly recognized the fact that it was not to be a white
man's war, nor a black man's war, but a war of all the people living
under the '^ Stars and Stripes" for the preservation of human liberty
throughout the ivorld. Despite efforts of pro-German propagandists
to dampen their ardor or cool their patriotism by pointing out seem-
ing inconsistencies between their treatment as American citizens
and their expected loyalty as American soldiers, more than one
million of them (1,078,331), according to the Second Official Eeport
of the Provost Marshal General, promptly responded to, and regis-
tered under the three Selective Service calls. More than 400,000
Negro soldiers (367,710 draftees plus voluntaiy enlistments and
those already in the Eegular Army) were called to the colors and
offered their lives in defense of the American flag during the recent
war. Relative to their population, proportionately more Negroes
were *' drafted" than was true of white men.

The Negro was represented in practically every branch of
military service during the Great World War, — including Infantry,
Cavalry, Engineer Corps, Field Artillery, Coast Artillery, Signal
Corps (radio or wireless telegraphers). Medical Corps, Hospital and
Ambulance Corps, Aviation Corps (ground section). Veterinary



Corps, and in Stevedore Regiments, Service or Labor Battalions,
Depot Brigades, and so fortli.

Nor was this the first instance in the Nation's history that this
ever-loyal racial group rightly and cheerfully responded to the
tocsin of war and made a military record of which any race might
well be proud. In the Revolutionary War, in the War of 1812, in
the Mexican War, in the Civil War, and in the War with Spain, —
the American Negro soldier has always distinguished himself by
bravery, fortitude, and loyalty. His military record has always
compared favorably with that of other soldiers.

It is because of the immensely valuable contribution made by
Negro soldiers, sailors, and civilians toward the winning of the great
World War that this volume has been prepared, — in order that there
may be an authentic record, not only of the military exploits of this
particular racial group of Americans, but of the diversified and
valuable contributions made by them as patriotic civilians.

A notable group of colored Americans, men and women, has
joined me in this effort adequately to present a reliable record of
the many services and sacrifices that the Negro race has willingly
laid upon the altar of Patriotism. It is a matter of profound satis-
faction to have had the earnest cooperation of :

Caeter G. Woodson, A. M., Ph. D., Director of Research, The
Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, whose mono-
graphs on Negro Life and History appear regularly in the "Journal
of Negro History," the one publication of its kind in America. Dr.
Woodson is a graduate of Harvard University, from which he re-
ceived the degree of Ph. D., and is an authority on Negro History.
His cooperation is, therefore, rightly to be prized as bringing to this
work an appreciation of historical values.

Ralph W. Tylee, accredited Negro War Correspondent, who
served overseas, representing the Committee on Public Information.
Mr. Tyler had full opportunity at the front to know how colored
soldiers acquitted themselves in camps and upon the battlefields of
France. His letters and official reports sent to America and pub-
lished through the Committee on Public Information in various
white and colored newspapers of the country contained first-hand
information concerning Negro troops overseas, and served to keep
up the morale of colored Americans at a time when there was much
anxiety and complaint among them due to the fact that adequate


news regarding the treatment and activities of Negro soldiers abroad
was not finding its way into the press of the country.

William Anthony Aery, Publication Secretary of the Hampton
Normal and Agricultural Institute, and Monroe N. Work, in charge
of the Division of Records and Research at Tuskegee Normal and
Industrial Institute, both of whom, being connected with the largest
industrial schools among colored people in the United States, had
full opportunity to observe the conduct and training of Negro sol-
diers in the various Vocational Detachments, Students * Army Train-
ing Corps, and Reserve Officers ' Training Corps units ; their counsel
and data furnished have been of material assistance in the prepara-
tion of this volume.

Mrs. Alice Dunbar-Nelson (formerly the wife of Paul Laurence
Dunbar, the ''Poet Laureate" of the Negro race), who wrote
Chapter XXVII, entitled: ''Negro Women in War Work." Mrs.
Nelson, prominent in educational and literary circles, was actively
engaged during the war in helping to mobilize the colored women of
the country for effective war work, representing the Women's Divi-
sion of the Council of National Defense ; she traveled extensively in
various parts of the country in the effort to promote patriotic activi-
ties among the colored women of America, and with eloquent tongue,
trenchant pen, and untiring personal service helped them to make
a record that will stand forever as a monument to the practical value
and absolute dependability of Negro womanhood in a national crisis.

Miss Eva D. Bowles, Executive Secretary in charge of the
Colored Young Women's Christian Association, who did a notable
piece of work in connection with the War Work Council, not only in
the matter of selecting well-trained women to take charge of Hostess
Houses that were provided at various camps and cantonments, but
in keeping alive the fires of patriotism among the colored women of
the country as she went from place to place lecturing and otherwise
working for the betterment of social conditions in Army camps and
especially in communities adjacent thereto. A full report of the
work done by the organization, which this consecrated young woman
so worthily represents, is contained in Chapter XXVII, entitled:
"Negro Women in War Work."

Lieutenant T. T. Thompson, Personnel Officer and Historian
of the 92nd Division, to whom I am especially indebted for a large
amount of official data concerning the various activities of this im-


portant Divisional unit of the American Expeditionary Forces.
Lieutenant Thompson, by training and experience, was well fitted
for the exacting post which was held by him as an officer in the U. S.
Army and as a chronicler of the activities and operations of the
92nd Division. The material supplied by him and incorporated in
Chapters XI and XII must, therefore, be regarded as official,
authentic, and reliable. It is the one clear record of the activities of
the 92nd Division, — that justly famous military unit composed of
American Negro officers and soldiers who served their country so
gallantly during the recent war. The data supplied by Lieutenant
Thompson has been checked up by various other officers of the 92nd
Division, including Lieutenant Chakles S. Pakkee, Regimental
Adjutant, 366th Infantry, a man of scholarly attainments, judicial
poise and clear understanding, and who, also, has supplied definite
and important data with reference to the operations of certain
Negro units that distinguished themselves by valor when the 92nd
Division fearlessly faced the formidable fortress at Metz. It is a
matter of great benefit to the Negro Race, and certainly most grati-
fying to the Author to have had recourse to the official records kept
by these colored officers.

I am also especially indebted to Captain John H. Patton,
Regimental Adjutant of the 370th Infantry Regiment, U. S. A. (bet-
ter known as the Old Eighth Illinois Regiment) which unit actively
participated in many a bloody conflict overseas and won imperishable
fame. Captain Patton placed at my disposal the full and complete
official record of the ''Eighth Illinois" (370th) Regiment and it was
largely from that record, of undeniable authenticity, that Chapter
XV was compiled.

Grateful reference must also be made to De. Jesse E. Mooeland,
International Secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association,
\\dth Headquarters at Washington, D. C. Dr. Moorland was in
charge of all the Y. M. C. A. work conducted among colored soldiers
in the various camps and cantonments throughout America as well
as overseas, and with a well-selected cabinet of efficient, consecrated
young colored men, rendered service of the utmost value in looking
after the moral and social welfare of thousands of Negro soldiers
who were called to the colors. Each and every Y. M. C. A. Secretary
selected for service in camps or cantonments at home or overseas was
designated by Dr. Moorland and his large corps of capable helpers co-


operated most effectively with the War Work Council. No more
notable work was done during the war than that performed by the
Young Men's Christian Association among colored soldiers as it
received the untutored, untrained and, in many cases unlettered col-
ored men who poured into the various camps, and, largely through
the practical help afforded by colored Y. M. C. A. Secretaries, were
transformed within a few weeks or months into upstanding, sturdy,
forward-looking men. The story of the Y. M. C. A. work among
colored soldiers is a story most interesting and worthy of preser-

Captain E. L. Snyder, Y. M. C. A. Secretary, who served for a
time at Camp Grant with the 183rd Depot Brigade and later upon
three battle fronts overseas, has placed the Author and his Eace
under many obligations for pern something awful if we hadn't gone
in. Materially, because the fight was so even that I don't think it is
boasting, I think it is a plain statement of fact, Mr. Cobb, that our
going in turned the scale. Isn't that so? I think the Germans and
their vassal allies would have been victorious if we hadn't gone in.


And if they had been victorious and we had stayed out, soft, flabby,

Online LibraryEmmett Jay ScottScott's official history of the American Negro in the World War. A complete and authentic narration, from official sources, of the participation of American soldiers of the Negro race in the World War for democracy ... a full acount of the war work organizations of colored men and women and other ci → online text (page 1 of 49)