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African Americans and Military Service

Collections of Black Military Service in the Rubenstein Library


This guide is designed to assist researchers with navigating collections in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library documenting the experience of African Americans serving in the military.

When exploring collections, it's important to remember that through the end of World War II, African American served in segregated units and were not allowed to serve in higher leadership positions. Some records include the papers of white serviceman who led African Americans units, or observed black troops firsthand. 

Collection holdings range from the Revolutionary period through the Vietnam War, with particular strengths in the Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War conflicts.