The French, though, appreciated at high levels the African American soldiers. This was evident since a total of 117 black soldiers were given the Legion of Honor by France whilst none of these soldiers were awarded the US’ Congressional Medal of Honor then. This oversight was, however to be corrected after years. The African American soldiers, despite their being not acknowledged by their fellow whites, made enormous contributions. A major contribution and which was highly notable to the war, was the initiation of Blues and Jazz music. Many of the Regiments had African Americans in their bands.
Most of the members in the troops sincerely had joyous moments when listening to the music made by black soldiers especially in the mute moments of the Great War. Of the bands which were conducted by the US army and their allies, the one led by James R. Europe was the most conspicuous. Europe was also famous for his self commitment to the band not only music wise but also his new dancing style. In spite of their great part in the war’s contribution, they still were sidelined.
African American leaders had a hard time to prevent the discrimination, during the greater war and before its inception. Black soldiers were allowed into the French Army, which admired them, as Harlem Hell fighters or the 369th infantry regiment. The 369th regiment was the first African American infantry in the Great War. The Harlem Hell fighters were known not to be allocated combat training duties in France. They were instead given labor service tasks, while awaiting further duty allocation. In 1918 the unit was assigned by US as a unit in the French Army as long as the U. S was participating in WWI.
After this, they continued to have their US Army outfits but were given the French army Helmets. The Harlem Hell fighters were, however, were relieved in mid 1918 and were sent to the trenches, where they served for about two months. (Critical perspectives on World War 1, Orr, 2005) During the age of imperialism of America that ran from 1898 to 1916 African American soldiers played a very great role. They went on to prove themselves later in the WWI, when the US army entered the war in 1917.
The soldiers who were in both 92nd as well as 93rd divisions and who were of African descent were highly admired by the French. They even went on to earn the service cross which was bestowed a great deal of importance. Black soldiers who got wounded during the WWI were about 5,000 while those who lost their lives were around 750.
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