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“To the colored soldiers of the U.S. Army.”

This propaganda leaflet was dropped by German airplanes behind American lines during World War I. Nearly 370,000 African Americans were drafted into the U.S. Army starting in the fall of 1917 (they were not allowed to join the Marines, and the Navy took African Americans only as cooks and kitchen help). Although more than half of the black troops were in combat units, they remained segregated from white troops. Subjected to racist harassment (including demeaning insults from white officers), black troops were continually reminded of their second-class citizenship. By stressing racist conditions in the United States, leaflets such as this attempted to destroy morale and encourage desertion among African-American troops.

Source: National Archives.