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were heading home, back to Jim Crow, U.S.A. There had been only equality in the Brigade; it would be impossible to accept second-class citizenship upon returning; and accept it they didn't. James Yates recalls his return:

[Voice:]"One hour after I was off the boat I went to a hotel...the Grand on 30th Street and Broadway...When it came to me, I was told, 'Sorry, all rooms are sold out, we don't have anymore available.' Now there were Black and white vets on line behind me. The protest began. At its end, I was told by the management they'd find me 'someplace' to sleep...on the floor, I thought. We all left. I knew I was back."

[Narr:] Thomas Page remembered his return, too:

[Voice:] "Spain was the first place I felt like a free man. Leaving Spain was one of the saddest days of my life. Just the thought of going back to jim Crow, America made me sick! Like me, you realized that after Spain our struggle was at home, just as it was before we sailed for Europe."

[Narr:] Right wing reaction was already growing when the Lincolns disembarked upon returning from Spain. All their passports were confiscated by the government. The Brigade was placed on the Un-American Activities "Blacklist". Crawford Morgan, Joe Taylor and other Afro-American Lincolns joined the fightback, finally getting the government to drop all the illegal charges against them.

Soon World War II opened, but not before many bitter memories of yet other betrayals and denials of their legitimate claims to first class citizenship would be added to the nation's ignominy. Armed Forces integration experienced in the Lincolns was scuttled. Still, many Afro-Americans enlisted to continue the unfinished war. Vaughn Love was one:

[Voice:] "I volunteered to fight for Loyalist Spain because there was a principle involved. But now in this great world war-- it's also a question of life or death."

[Narr:] Wounded three times in Spain, he trained many fine combatants for World War II. Garland, Taylor, Crawford Morgan and Page also enlisted to continue the unfinished war.

History has turned many pages since then. And today, many Afro-American Lincoln Vets can say they witnessed fascism's defeat in Spain, with a nominal democracy returning to its people. They know Spain has not forgotten them. As Langston Hughes so eloquently wrote in "Tomorrow's Seed":

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"Proud banners of death
I see them waving
There against the sky,
Struck deep in Spanish earth

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[[right column]]

Frank Alexander 
William Baker
Vernold Beebe
Milton Braxton, Tom Brown


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Where your dark bodies lie
Inert and helpless--
So they think
Who do not know,
That from your death
New life will grow.
For there are those who cannot see
The mighty roots of liberty
Push upward in the dark
To burst in flame--
A million stars--
And one your name:
Who fell in Spanish earth:
Human seed
For Freedom's birth."

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[[right column]]

Walter Callum
Council Carter
Mike Chowan
Roland Cleveland
Mack Coad
Walter Cobbs
Tomas Callado, Leroy Collins
Walter Dicks, Larry Dukes
Walter Garland, Eugene Gavin
Henry George
Theodore Gibbs
Gerald Goldwyn
Meredith Graham
Centurio Gutierrez, George Harvey
Milton Herndon
John Hunter
Salaria Kee
Admiral Kilpatrick
Oliver Law
Charles Lewis
Norman Lisberg
Alonzo Watson
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[Narr:] No, Spain has not forgotten her dark sons and daughters of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

[[left column]]

And neither must we!
Neither must we!
Neither must we!
Neither must we!

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[[right column]]

Luchell "El Fantastico" McDaniels
Andrew Mitchell
William Moore
Burt Jackson
Edward Johnson
Richard Johnson
Crawford Morgan
James Peck
Claude Pringle
Alpheus Prowell
Marcus Ranson
Otto Reeves
Virgil Rhetta
James Robinson
Julius Rodrigues
Oliver Rose
Gonrado Rosario

CREDITS: Ruth Singer, Visuals Producer; Lucho Hamilton, Narrator; Antar Sudan Katara Mberi, Scriptwriter and Director; V.A.L.B., Producers

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact