"we were told there were black troops in front of us"

African-American troops played a big role in WWI. Most didn’t see combat, instead being assigned to support roles, but some black units went to the front lines. One of these, the “Harlem Hellfighters,” stayed on the front line for over six months, longer than any other American unit.

A particular black soldier who noticeably distinguished himself in France was Corporal Freddie Stowers: he led his troops into a major assault on the Germans and  was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

By the end of the war, over 350,000 black soldiers had served in American forces on the Western Front.