This image is the cover for the book Loyalty in Time of Trial, The African American Experience Series

Loyalty in Time of Trial, The African American Experience Series

The little-known history of black soldiers and defense workers in the First World War, and what happened afterward: “Highly recommended.” —Choice

In one of the few book-length treatments of the subject, historian Nina Mjagkij conveys the full range of the African American experience during the “Great War.” Prior to World War I, most African Americans did not challenge the racial status quo. But nearly 370,000 black soldiers served in the military during the war, and some 400,000 black civilians migrated from the rural South to the urban North for defense jobs. 

Following the war, emboldened by their military service and their support of the war on the home front, African Americans were determined to fight for equality—but struggled in the face of indifference and hostility in spite of their combat-veteran status. America would soon be forced to confront the impact of segregation and racism—beginning a long, dramatic reckoning that continues over a century later.

“Painstakingly describes the frustration, sometimes anger, and frequent courage demonstrated by southern and northern African Americans in their attempts to include themselves in the national crusade of making the world safe for democracy . . . one of the most comprehensive treatments of the race issue in the early twentieth century that this reader has seen.” —Journal of Southern History

Nina Mjagkij

Nina Mjagkij is professor of history at Ball State University. She serves as coeditor of Rowman & Littlefield's African American History Series, as well as director of Ball State's African-American Studies Program.

Rowman & Littlefield