Coming Home: How the African American Experience in World War II Shaped The Culture of Prince George's County
African Americans have been a part of the United States Armed Services since the very beginning of this country and have participated in every American war and conflict. Although at times their country has struggled to accept them as equals, African American soldiers have served their country honorably from the American Revolution to the War on Terror.
The African American military experience takes on particular importance in World War II. This war would be the last war in which the American military used racially segregated units. Not only did the actions of these brave soldiers change the face of the American military army, they also changed the way that America looked at the black soldier. The government could no longer argue that African Americans were not brave, strong, or intelligent enough to be considered equals.
This exhibition features, pictures, artifacts, and memorabilia, but more importantly, stories. These are stories of black soldiers that have connections to Prince George’s County. In Prince George’s County there are over 60,000 veterans and their influence cannot be denied. As the county gradually transformed to an African American majority it was the return of these soldiers from WWII that sparked a change in this area. As a part of this exhibition, the museum will be conducting an oral history project to document the military experience of African American service men and women who are connected to Prince George’s County. This project will be far reaching and ongoing with a goal to reach every living veteran with connections to Prince George’s County. As a museum, our most important job is to document community life as it happens and to celebrate the lives and accomplishments of all Prince Georgians… especially those who serve.
Jon West-Bey, Curator