African-American infantryman - Musée de la Grande Guerre

To note :
Annual closure from August 19 to September 6, 2024.
Reopening on Saturday September 7 for the historical reenactment weekend.

African-American infantryman in the 93rd Infantry Division, United States Army, 1918.

African-American infantryman

When the United States entered the war in 1917, a large number of African-Americans enrolled in the army, hoping to find emancipation and a place in American society, which was severely marked by racial segregation at the time. Some even warned of the danger of training and arming Black soldiers.

As a result, 80% of the men of colour who served in France were assigned to non-combatant support units. Two African-American fighting units were trained, however: the 92nd and 93rd infantry divisions. Upon arrival on 4 May 1918, the 93rd was immediately placed under fully French orders, under the command of General Pétain.

These soldiers kept the 1917 and 1912 American uniforms, with pea jacket and American trousers, but were equipped and armed by the French army. They received the symbols typical of the French troops: the horizon blue Adrian helmet, braces, cartridge pouches, satchel, canteen, belt, gaiters, ankle boots, ARS gas mask and the Berthier 07/15 rifle, 8 mm calibre.

Fantassin afro-américain de la 93ème division d’infanterie américaine
Fantassin afro-américain de la 93ème division d’infanterie américaine