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WWII letter on African-Americans
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Henry Clarke was inducted into the army after he completed his Ph.D. in musicology at Harvard University. In this letter he writes about polishing off a chapter of his dissertation on John Blow who was an English composer working at the end of the seventeenth century. Clarke also writes of having heard a talk about Black veterans of World War I. American Blacks were allowed to serve only in segregated units of the United States military during the First World War. The lecturer, "a colored friend of ours, who works at Harvard," recounted his first-hand knowledge of the staunch patriotism of Black soldiers. He told the story of standing beside a young soldier in St. Nazaire, France, and watching, an American ship headed for home. The speaker remembers, "the colored boy wept and declared if he ever got back to the U.S.A. he would never leave it again. (Later he [the speaker] discovered that this same boy's father had years ago been lynched.)"
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