Who Can Find A Virtuous Woman? WWI Black Women Supporting The War Effort

Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.

Holy  Bible (KJV)  Proverbs 31:29

I heard that the local public library, was hosting a talk on took part in the WWI, often disguising themselves as ambulance drivers or orderlies, and I immediately grumbled, “I bet no black women will be mentioned”. I thought I’d attend and on the off-chance some older Black ladies were there, have some ammunition to make them feel less marginalized, what a wonderful gesture on my part of protecting the honor of Black women in this small bucolic hamlet. I did some quick research the night before, finding a dearth of information I had previously been unaware of, information and accomplishment of The Black Woman from slave times to the present. I was about to attach this introduction, then Eureka !, I realized that for almost 70 years when discussions started about Black People’s contribution to the WWI conflict, I automatically and immediately focused in on our brave black men who volunteered and heroically served under the French. I have never once mentioned The Black Woman’s contribution to patriotically supporting WWI America Servicemen, one because I was plain ignorant of their many contributions before and during WWI years, and secondly historical focus from the 1900’s until now; has been highlighted and supporting the accomplishments of Black Men. The White American historical system continues to promote  racially biased laws which mercilessly attack our males of all ages; even upholding the right to shoot or use excessive force statutes that allow white citizens and police departments (some of the victims Black Law Enforcement Officers) for Black males to be justifiably killed or injured.

Those are two noble and idealistic excuses but the truth is I personally never even considered, what Black women may have done during the WWI war years, and I realized in retrospect that I owe American Black Women a deep and abiding Apology!. I also  believe that America owes Black women a sincere apology for the way they’ve been treated in The Americas for over 600 years, in spite of their mistreatment Black Women continue to raise up successfully in spite of adversity and continued setbacks.Black women  are rarely acknowledged for their many contributions to American society and culture, so this assignment has been a worthwhile learning experience, and gave me appreciation for women such as my mother who were unsung heroines of their generation. Every time I use my intelligence in this egotistical manner, it just goes to show others how ignorant and insecure I really am, then I eventually have that spiritual experience where the voice of God internally asks me, “Did We learn anything today?”.

American Women in World War I

In a period of overt racism, African-American women who tried to participate in these efforts met almost immovable obstacles. After a long struggle, a few black nurses were admitted into the nurse corps, but not until after the war. The military accepted no other black women. Although 200,000 black soldiers served overseas, no more than half a dozen black women managed to get there, for with the sole exception of the YMCA all the volunteer organizations excluded them from service abroad. Black women worked nobly in this country in the workplace and as volunteers, but almost always in their own groups, set apart from whites.

Social Education 58(2), 1994, pp. 83-85
National Council for the Social Studies

A References List of Black Women Who Contributed to The WWI War Effort :

1. WWI Black Red Cross at St. Paul Hospital Photograph
2. WWI Black Nurses Red Cross Motor Services Photograph
3. Black Machine Operator Redspring Webring Photograph
4. Nurses that worked during WWI ( Mahoney ) Photograph
5. Black women in WWI helped at The Colored  YMCA/YWCA 40’s photo
6. Book ”Organizing Black America” about Helping during WWI
7. Book “Private Politics…Black Women’s Activism In World War I
8. Uncle Sam allocated $4 million Colored Women’s YWCA 1914 -1918
9. 1914 Colored YMCA Women “Answer the Call!” supporting GI’s
10. Awards to Nashville’s African – American Women’s Committee
11. WWI Black Women Railroad: cleaning cars, laborers, wiping engines
12. The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (1909)

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Listing By State of  Historical Black Colleges-Universities Nursing Programs


The First World War And Colonial Blacks/Asians

The outbreak of the First World War, in 1914, provided a solution to this problem for many Blacks already resident in Britain. Labour was needed for the war effort in factories, and seamen were required for the merchant service, to replace men who joined the navy. They were among the thousands who died facing the German U-boat attacks, bringing supplies to Britain.

Moreover, men were needed to fight in the army for “King and Country”. Thousands played their part. In the Caribbean and Africa, as elsewhere in the empire, there were public meetings to encourage people to get involved in the war effort.

Mary Seacole Jamaican Nurse during Crimea War: More famous than Florence Nightingale

WWI Black Britons: “Its a White Man’s War

Black, Asian,Caribbean Men Who Fought For Britain:

Male UK Blacks and Indians in WWI

Remembering Frank S. Fujii

Frank S. Fujii is one of the most important artists and influences in my life and that of thousands of other, there are many men and women of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds, that were fortunate to have Frank as a mentor, teacher or friend and in my case all three. I first met Frank S. Fujii at summer school because I was doing poorly in class attendance and performance, my IQ was 150 and I was an avid reader who would check out as many books as the library would allow, my father was out of the home because of alcoholism and subsequent divorce. I was immediately struck by the quality of Fujii Chan’s abilities as an artist, and though he specifically concentrated on commercial aspects of art in the classroom environment his work and craft was impeccable. Inspired by Frank I later took fine arts classes from great artists of similar skill and reputation; Guy Anderson, Bill Cumming, Don Scott, Charley Stokes, John and Paul Healed, Nan Nadder, at Seattle’s Cornish Allied Art School in the 1960. Many of those same teachers also taught me; anatomy, rendering, color and many fine arts skills at Burnely  School for Professional Art also located on Capitol Hill in Seattle, it was only us arrogant art students who debated weather Fine Arts was more reputable than Commercial Art. Frank had prepared me for attending art school at Garfield High School (Horiuchi donated painting) , Cornish, Burnley, U of W Art Dept and W.W.S.C. Art Dept., by not only giving me the foundation basics for learning and applying my craft, but also taught all of us young novices industry and discernment through careful study of our subject matter, and the invaluable ability to accept and learn from the criticism of others.

The first story Frank related to our class was about getting your work completed in a timely fashion the anecdote demonstrated the value of hard work and its eventual reward; Frank and his brother were working in an Alaskan cannery, to make the laborious time pass quicker; they made a game of who could get the most work done quicker, their boss was so impressed by their good nature and industry, he invited them back for the next season.

That was one of the first life lessons Frank taught me and my classmates in that early classroom environment, then for me when later I ran cross country for a different high school team, Frank was instrumental in helping me hone my running and competition skills, both by his wise anecdotal examples and valued critiques of my techniques. I watched and learned from my mentor Frank over the years, who was an excellent educator and role model like my mother, Aki Kurose (1925-1998), and others in the Seattle School Systems; minority teachers having extra burdens (Giri) and obstacles placed in their path, in some instances having to work twice as hard to receive the same recognition and promotions given White counterparts. Because Frank was a Renaissance Person who excelled in so many endeavors, he was able to be; a well respected artist, a great teacher in several meaningful disciplines, a compassionate dedicated  administrator in a political  junior college position, an authentic lasting role model, and a supportive philanthropist to our Asian Community and Greater City of Seattle. Frank S. Fujii planted and nurtured seeds into the imagination of young idealistic kids like myself, I was always welcomed to contact him and share a few treasured moments in his usually busy schedule, I am proud to be one of the recipients of Frank Fujii’s wonderful legacy

I loving refer to Frank as Fujii San  or Fujii Chan, because like that most impressive Japanese mountain, Frank is a noble symbol of unassailable greatness and true compassionate strength.