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Fighting Two Wars at Once: The World War I Veterans of Quakertown

The People

Out of the 4 million men who served in “The Great War”, nearly 400,00 were African American. Over half of those served overseas. Approximately 5,000  sustained injuries and 750 died while serving.

Current research has identified seventeen men who had ties to Quakertown and were drafted into WWI.  Some of these young men lived within the boundaries of Quakertown or in the surrounding neighborhoods. Others had grown up in Quakertown, had moved away for employment, but still had family in the area.

The wide range of experiences these troops had during the war is quite impressive.  Some served for a short period of time while others were gone for several years.  Some served state side while others were sent to France.  Most, in alignment with U.S. Army policies, served in labor (service) battalions.  However, several were assigned to infantry divisions. Most were assigned to companies and divisions whose stories are lost to history, but a few were part of divisions whose experiences in the war have become a mix of fact and legend.  

Research is ongoing to document the history of each man and his life before, during, and after the war.  Of special interest are the repercussions of the forced relocation of Quakertown on their lives.


“Knowing your generational story firms the ground upon which you stand. It makes your life, your struggles and your triumphs, bigger than your lone existence. It connects you to a grand plotline.”

~ Genealogist Cicely Tyson

These stories are not just the stories of their descendants.  Their stories are a part of our story.  We all benefit from knowing them. 





National African American Museum, Washington D.C. Double Victory. 2023