The expansion of American militarism and empire abroad relied on Black labor, even as policy remained influenced by scientific racism and fears of contagion. Join Dr. Khary Polk, Assistant Professor at Amherst College for a talk that explores how Black men and women played an important part in the U.S. military’s conscription of racial, gender, and sexual difference and what it meant to be an “agent of empire” at home and abroad during the WWI era. Streamed on October 21, 2020.

A professional development certificate can be obtained online. Please use the password provided in the webinar to access the pdf file:

Education resources:

Contagions of Empire: Scientific Racism, Sexuality, and Black Military Workers Abroad, 1898 – 1948, by Dr. Khary Oronde Polk

Poem, “God and the soldier, all men adore”

Two Colored Women in World War I France, by Addie Hunton and Kathryn M. Johnson
Poster, “St. Nazaire Stevedores”, Archive record 2011.65.1

Educator Toolkit, How WWI Changed America

Online exhibition, “Make Way for Democracy”

The Concept of Race, Facing History and Ourselves lesson plan

“Amplifying Black Voices in History: WWI”, Understanding the Great War newsletter

For more information about the National WWI Museum and Memorial visit

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About Author: integral
A free-thinking individual who strives to maintain psychological balance between the two polar aspects of Human Nature; Desire and Conscience. However, These conditions can never be balanced because inertia will carry us to extremes. Balance is a constant struggle therefore I live by the principles of the HERU Interface