This article recounts some of the actions of the League for Colored Women in Chattanooga, Tennessee. These women helped contribute to the war through fundraisers, as well as by making food and clothing to be sent to the soldiers.
During World War I, African American women, or colored women as they were referred to during this time, organized and participated in various groups and activities for the purpose of supporting the war effort. The National Association of Colored Women, founded in 1895, served to coordinate the efforts of various local and state level organizations. The League for Colored Women in Chattanooga, Tennessee was one of these local organizations trying to help African American members of the Armed Forces.
In addition to care packages for the soldiers, African American women also volunteered for the Red Cross, served as army nurses, ran fundraisers for the Liberty Loans and War Saving Stamps campaigns, and created the Circle for Negro War Relief to help African American soldiers and their families. Despite their patriotic endeavors and willingness to contribute to the war effort, many African American women faced discrimination and prejudice when they attempted to volunteer in certain towns and cities throughout the United States. In particular, some Red Cross locations and YWCA members protested African American involvement in their organizations. Nevertheless, African American women pushed on through this discrimination and continued to find ways of supporting the war effort.
How do civilians contribute to a war effort?
Check for Understanding
Students write a response to the essential questions in which they address the motivations and challenges specific to minority groups in their support of a war effort.