This essay includes a series of questions after the bibliography. The following is the introduction:
By the turn of the twentieth-century, the efforts of the Freedman’s Bureau and Radical Reconstruction had been stymied by voting restrictions and the rise of Jim Crow. Whether blacks faced the blatant, legal segregation of the South or the de facto segregation of the North, advancement towards the ability to participate as full American citizens seemed as though it was taking a long and arduous path. With the death of Booker T. Washington, the long debate between progressive black leaders concerning the best path to achieve equality had come to an end, and America’s involvement in the Great War presented a unique avenue in the struggle for civil rights. As Wilson’s war administration dealt with the dilemma of juxtaposing the concept of “making the world safe for democracy” against that of racial segregation at home, and the CPI worried about the influence of German propaganda on blacks, African-Americans debated the best way in which the war effort could be used to advance their cause. As the first group of African-Americans registered for Selective Service, received their training, and shipped off for Europe, one thing was certain: regardless of the immediate consequences of black efforts in the Great War, their sacrifice was a positive step in the direction of social change and equality.