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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

A Black Officer in WWI

An item posted to "My Adams Family Website" which demonstrates the majority attitude toward AA males during the period surrounding WWI.

I'm sure the article was written in a "favorable" light, but the inconsideration of how a 30 year old man, serving his country 85 years ago was portrayed was/is upsetting to me.
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Harrison Leslie Adams (1888-1957) WWI-Military Service

Art Thomas - Mar 5, 2001 View | Edit | Delete | Viewers | Reply to this item

A little family history from the WWI timeframe. Do you have a story to add?

COLORED BOY EARNS COMMISSION

Hello All,

The headline of an article found today while searching "old' paper files. Note the language/terminolgy. Article from the Urbana, OH Daily Citizen-Gazette, dated 18 Aug 1918. "Uncle Leslie" was 30 years of age when this article appeared.

Harrison L. Adams first Champaign Co. Colored boy to be Comissioned
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Urbana's and Champaign county's first colored commissioned officer, arrived in this city Thursday morning when Lieut. Harrison L. Adams of the U.S. Infantry, stepped off a train at the Pennsylvania depot. He came to Urbana from Camp Pike, Ark., where he was successful in graduating
from an officer's training school, and obtained a commission as a second Lieutenant. He will remain here until Sept. 3, when he will leave for Camp Funston, Kansas, where he has been ordered to report on the fifth of next month.

Liutenant Adams was one of seven colored selects who left the county on Oct 28, 1917, for Camp Sherman, the first contingent of colored boys to leave here. He was assigned to the engineers at the camp and made good, for in Feb he was made a sergeant. In May his company went to Camp Mead, Maryland, where he was assigned to an artillery officer's school, and his companions went overseas. he was later transferred for infantry officer's at Camp Dodge, IA., where he stayed until June 1. At that time all training schools for colored officers were centralized at Camp Pike, Ark., so he was transferred there.

There were 1296 men who graduated from the school last monday and the Urbana boy was among those who were granted a commission as a second lieutentant. All the graduates were made second lieutenants in accordance with the present policy of the war department to grant nothing higher than that to the graduates of training schools. Lieutenant Adams appears to be in the best of health and says he is feeling fine. He makes a fine looking officer and will doubtless be avaluable addition to Uncle Sam's corp of officers.
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Harrison's brother my grandfather, Sgt First Class, Harold McKinley Adams also served in WWI. My gfather saw action in France at the Muese-Argonne Defensive Sector, with the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), Company "A" 317 Engineers. Harrison and Harold had a brother, Oscar L. Adams, who served in the Phillipine Islands from 4 May 1912-15 Feb 1915, with Company "A" of the 24th Regiment of the infantry.

See the Adams Family Tree for family connections.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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