The Black Rattlers

Stivers, Don (1926-2009) 2003 Oil on Canvas

During World War I, the United States military was segregated by race. Nearly 370,000 black men either volunteered for or were drafted into, the United States Army during the war. Although the majority of black troops served in support units, the 92nd and 93rd Divisions served in combat. Both divisions saw action during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. 

The 93rd Division, which fought as part of the French military, consisted mostly of National Guard units from several cities and states including the 370th Infantry Regiment from Chicago, the 369th Infantry Regiment from New York City as well as the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Connecticut, etc. 

The 92nd Division consisted of draftees and enlisted men. While the 93rd Division served with black officers, the 92nd Division served with white officers, some of whom were racist. 

Original oil on canvas by Don Stivers.

Tony Smith, 1918