world war i centennial

Courtesy Kentucky National Guard

World War I, which ended with an armistice agreement 100 years ago, transformed life in the United States. The "war to end all wars" also introduced a new chapter in African-Americans' fight for equal rights. About one million African-Americans registered for the draft and nearly 370,000 African-Americans enlisted in the U.S. military during World War I. Along with the activist W.E.B. Du Bois, many of those who served hoped that a war fought in the name of democracy would, at its end, make American society truly democratic as well.

David Davis, a professor of English at Mercer University, spoke with us about the atmosphere African-Americans met overseas in the war and the environment to which they returned after the armistice. 


War Department / U.S. National Archives

The armistice declaring the end of World War I, on the "11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918, was signed 100 years ago. Georgia contributed more than 100,000 men and women to the war effort, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia. During U.S. involvement in the war from 1917-1918, the state was also home to more training camps than any other state.

Georgia Humanities president Laura McCarty stopped by "On Second Thought" to talk about Georgians' contributions to the war effort and highlight some lesser known stories, including those of Moina Michael and Eugene Bullard. Michael, a former University of Georgia administrator, is credited with popularizing the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those lost in the war. Bullard, from Columbus, Georgia, was the first African-American fighter pilot. Serving in the French military, Bullard predated the Tuskegee Airmen by more than 20 years.