African-American D-Day veterans recall battlefield contributions, conflicts at home


FALLS CHURCH, Va. — As World War II raged overseas, men and women responded to the call of duty in the fight for what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the “four freedoms” – freedom of speech and worship, and freedom from want and fear. By the time the United States entered the war, more than 2.5 million African American men had signed up for the draft. In a separate-but–not-equal military at the time, the irony was not lost as the fight for these freedoms continued at home.

“[T]he sky in the distance lit up with search lights, tracers from ack-acks and the sound of bombs,” Cpl. Waverly B. Woodson, a medic attached to the primarily African American 320th Anti-Aircraft Balloon Barrage Battalion, once wrote in testimony to Congress regarding what he witnessed on D-Day.

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