All Resources

Why Black Men Fought in World War I, 1919

During World War I, the approximately 370,000 black men in the US army served in segregated regiments and were often relegated to support duties such as digging trenches, transporting supplies, cleaning latrines, and burying the dead. One notable exception is the “Harlem Hellfighters,” organized in 1916 as the 15th Infantry Regiment of the New York National Guard. Their nickname came from the 200 Harlem residents that comprised the core of the regiment and the German view of them as “Hellfighters.”