AfriGeneas Military Research Forum
Martha Settle Putney, dies
Martha Putney, historian of blacks in the U.S. military, dies at 92 She was one of the first African-Americans to serve in the Women's Army Corps in World War II
By William Grimes | New York Times News Service
December 23, 2008
Martha Putney, who became one of the first black women to serve in the Women's Army Corps during World War II and who went on to write pioneering works of history on black Americans in the military, died Dec. 11 in Washington. She was 92 and lived in Washington.
The death was confirmed by her son, William Putney Jr.
Mrs. Putney, whose life was featured prominently in "The Greatest Generation," Tom Brokaw's popular history of the war and the unsung Americans who took part in it, entered the armed services in 1943 to better her prospects in life. She left the service determined to someday tell the story of how black Americans had contributed to the war. This she did in "When the Nation Was in Need: Blacks in the Women's Army Corps During World War II" (1992) and "Blacks in the United States Army: Portraits Through History" (2003), which she edited.
Martha Settle was born in Norristown, Pa., where her father supported his eight children as a laborer. After winning a scholarship to Howard University in Washington, she earned a bachelor's degree in 1939 and a master's degree in history in 1940.
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