A Brief Look at African American Soldiers in the Great War

By Matthew Margis When the United States declared war on Germany in April 1917, President Woodrow Wilson undertook a massive propaganda campaign to expand support for the war.  He declared that, America would help make the world “safe for democracy.”  Democracy though, eluded an entire segment of American society who struggled with the realities of … Continue reading A Brief Look at African American Soldiers in the Great War

Unnoticed: African Americans in Union Army Camps during the Civil War

Many of us are familiar with the famed photographer, Mathew Brady, who captured a million photographs during the American Civil War.  From the battlefield to portraits, his photographs captured some of the most grueling and unforgettable times of the war.  They were the inspiration of Ken Burns’ famed documentary series The Civil War (1990).  Many … Continue reading Unnoticed: African Americans in Union Army Camps during the Civil War

African American Women in the Military During WWII

Original caption: Somewhere in England, Maj. Charity E. Adams,…and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell,…inspect the first contingent of Negro members of the Women’s Army Corps assigned to overseas service. National Archives Identifier: 531249. Local Identifier: 111-SC-200791. As we make our way through Women’s History Month, we are reminded of the incredible accomplishments of women throughout history. … Continue reading African American Women in the Military During WWII

Cartographic Records Relating to African American History

February is African American History Month. All of our Special Media branches hold a variety of records relating to African American history. Today, we are featuring some related records from the Cartographic Branch. The above plan shows the layout for the Freeman’s Village that was established on the estate of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, … Continue reading Cartographic Records Relating to African American History

Captured on Film: Armistice Day 1918

This Veterans Day, November 11th, is the 100th anniversary of the armistice of World War I. The armistice was not an official surrender by Germany, which would come several months later with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, but was essentially the beginning of the end of the war. The Great War, as it is … Continue reading Captured on Film: Armistice Day 1918

Supporting Troops on the Homefront: The North Platte, Nebraska Canteen

The story of the North Platte, Nebraska canteen reads more like a Frank Capra movie rather than an Army film production. As the story goes, a rumor had started that a train carrying troops from Nebraska would be arriving at North Platte on Christmas Day 1941. About five hundred townspeople came to greet the train bearing food and … Continue reading Supporting Troops on the Homefront: The North Platte, Nebraska Canteen

Spotlight: The Harlem Hellfighters Return Home

Please Note: Primary source documents used in this post may contain harmful language. See NARA’s Statement on Potentially Harmful Language. Last week, the 369th Infantry Regiment, more famously known as the Harlem Hellfighters, was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. The honor comes more than a century after their service in Europe during WWI. The regiment … Continue reading Spotlight: The Harlem Hellfighters Return Home

Celebrate Nurses Week with the Military Nurse

Each year in the United States, National Nurses Week is celebrated starting on May 6. We have been reminded this past year of the incredible work nurses do on a daily basis and of the sacrifice they make to care for the wellbeing of others. To mark National Nurses Week, the Unwritten Record is celebrating … Continue reading Celebrate Nurses Week with the Military Nurse

Alexander Gardner’s Photographs of the Civil War

Alexander Gardner may be best known for his photographic work during the American Civil War era of the 1860s. Gardner was born in Scotland in 1821 and started originally as an apprentice jeweler. After seeing Mathew Brady’s photographs at the Great Exhibition in London in 1851, Gardner knew he had to be involved in the … Continue reading Alexander Gardner’s Photographs of the Civil War

Protest Camps in D.C.: The Poor People’s Campaign and the Bonus Army Marchers

Washington, D.C. is no stranger to protests. Most are one-day affairs, consisting of a march or rally with some speakers and a musical guest or two. A handful, though, have been more long term, with protestors spending days or weeks camped out in our nation’s capital to fight for their cause. Two of the most … Continue reading Protest Camps in D.C.: The Poor People’s Campaign and the Bonus Army Marchers