The Negro Soldier (1944)

Tomorrow is Veteran’s Day 2012 and while surfing the world wide web this weekend, I came upon information about Frank Capra’s “Why We Fight” World War II propaganda film series. Included in this series is the 1944 film, “The Negro Soldier,” that encouraged African-Americans to enlist in the army during World War II. This black & white film is roughly 40 minutes and I’ve embedded it here for your convenience; so check it out!

Due to both high reviews and great cinematography, “The Negro Soldier” proved to be a breakout film that influenced army members and civilians of all races. The film played a considerable part in altering the types of roles that African Americans received in following films by depicting African Americans as lawyers, musicians, athletes, and other valued professions. It was chosen to be preserved in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2011.

According to International Historic Films, “Langston Hughes hailed it as the most remarkable Negro film ever flashed on the American screen.”

Is it possible this was the film that encouraged (or convinced) many young African Americans to join the fight against Hitler? And do you agree this film played a major role in altering the types of roles African Americans received in films that followed? Hmmmm . . .

Check out the film and let me know your thoughts!


2 thoughts on “The Negro Soldier (1944)

  1. I’ve read in “Slavery and the Making of America” (by Horton and Horton, PBS series) that African-Americans were brave soldiers in every war starting with the Revolutionary War, but that when the next war came, the white establishment “forgot” about all their bravery and at first banned them from serving. They found a way to serve, anyway! I’m glad to hear of this breakthrough film, praised by Langston Hughes, that helped to get rid of stereotypes. I’ve saved this URL to watch later.


    • Thanks Mariann for for sharing your thoughts about this film in celebration of Veterans Day. I’m so glad that I located this film for I never knew it existed. In fact, I plan to look check out all the films that make up this series.

      You’re so right — African Americans have participated in every war since the birth of this country despite all the odds stacked against them. Resilience is the word that immediately comes to mind as I watched this film. So let me know your thoughts when you’ve had a chance to see the film!


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