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remained forever on the battlefield in France, with his dead eyes "lifted to the hills." * * * Sergeant Joe Williams, Private Sam Jones, Corporal Zach Brown, Lieutenant John Crawford - the black heroes of the last war. Theirs was the experience of 400,000 Negroes who joined up or were drafted. Black America did its bit - 10 per cent of the population, but 13 per cent of the armed forces. Two hundred thousand went to France, three-fourths of them in labor battalions. It meant endless hours and grueling work, unloading ships, building roads, cleaning up battlefields. One-tenth of the population of a nation supplied three-fourths of the labor of the American Expeditionary Forces. Yes - the practices which kept the Negro at the bottom at home were rigidly enforced in France. Lieutenant John Crawford and Corporal Zach Brown could tell you the story. But they're dead. A bullet through the head at Couchy le Chateau finished off one of them; a hangman's noose finished the other. Joe Williams and Sam Jones got back. But theirs was no hero's welcome. Race riots - Chicago, Tulsa, Washington, Omaha. Sergeant Williams came back to Chicago one sunny morning in July, strutting proudly through the station in his uniform - Croix de Guerre with palm leaf and all, wound and service stripes shining brightly on his arm. How good he felt to be back home: Returned here - back from war "to make the world safe for democracy." He was set upon by hoodlums as soon as he stepped into the street; he barely escaped with his life. He had come home in the midst of the 1919 race riot. Later he learned that several other veterans - one a cripple - had not been lucky enough to escape - had been cornered and beaten to death by mobs. * * * Sharecropper Private Sam Jones returned to his family 10 [[end page]] [[start page]] minus an arm. The boss man said: "Take off that uniform, nigger, and get after that crop. You ain't in the army now." Sam Jones is dead now. Sam just couldn't adjust himself to the slavery of the plantations when he returned. He resented the boss man's insults, blows, kicks. He just couldn't take it any more. After all, he was a fighting man. He and a few of his fellows got together and began to organize the croppers and tenants on Captain Hawkins' plantation. They were being cheated out of their crops. Year after year, it was the same old story at settlement time: "Now, Sam, if you had just a half a bale more, you'd a broke even." The croppers sent for a white city lawyer from Memphis to take up their claims with the landlords. Same called a meeting in Shiloh Baptist Church. The planters didn't like that. They called it a "nigger rebellion." "These niggers back from France are too uppity with their ideas of social equality." The newspapers in Elaine screamed: "Negro Plot for Insurrection Revealed! Plan to Murder All Whites: White Womanhood in Danger!" The bosses organized posses, surrounded the church, fired into the peaceful gathering, slaughtering men, women, children. For weeks a reign of terror. Negroes were hunted and shot down like dogs. Thousands were thrown into a stockade. The "rebellion" was scotched. Sam Jones was killed. Still fighting for democracy, "eyes lifted to the hills." * * * Joe Williams lived through the five-days' race rioting in Chicago. Hemmed-in in the Black Belt, he met his old buddies, with them formed a defense squad to protect Negroes from the terrorism of boss-inspired hoodlums who threatened to invade the South Side. Sergeant Williams found that his soldier's experience served him well in his fight for democracy on the home front. After a terrible toll had been rolled up in life and property, things calmed down. Joe began to look for a job. He was 11
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