What roles did African Americans and Native Americans play in World War I? To explore this question, this presentation takes a person-centered ethnographic examination of the relationship between war and experience as discernible from the dynamic contributions made by African Americans and Choctaw Code Talkers that enabled allied victory. African American and Native American contributions during World War I must be understood in relationship to individual sacrifices, service, and how these individuals who represented populations that were considered second class citizens (i.e., African Americans) and non-citizens (i.e., Choctaws), reconciled the inconsistencies between how they felt about the U.S., how the U.S. felt about them, and their indefatigable desires to defend the liberty of allies of the country that evoked this dilemma. These points may seem controversial; however, they expand on current literature on the U.S. soldier experiences during World War I through the analysis of two incredible and under-researched aspects of this American experience and historical record that galvanized their places in U.S. history.
Dr. Robert Keith Collins is an authority on African and Native American cultures in the Americas as well as the ethnic identification of persons who are of both African American and Native American heritages. Collins is of African-Choctaw descent. He is currently an Associate Professor and the Chair of the American Indian Studies Department at San Francisco State University.
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The RECEPTION begins at 6:00pm and will be held in the History Museum of Sonoma County, 425 7th Street, Santa Rosa; the TALK begins at 7pm in the USF Santa Rosa campus, 416 B Street, Santa Rosa (a short, walkable distance from the Museum).