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Interpreting the Evidence

League for Colored Women, Chattanooga, TN, World War I, n.d.

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:

    World War I

  • Primary Source Types:

    Written Document

  • Regions:

    United States

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load League for Colored Women, Chattanooga, TN, World War I, n.d. in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
The League for Colored Women in Chattanooga, Tennessee actively raised money and prepared boxes of food, towels and other essential items for the troops in World War I, n.d.
Historical Context
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.

Essential Question
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.
Historical Challenges
Research the National Association of Colored Women. How do these women contribute to modern society? What projects do they sponsor? Who do they try to help?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Art: Write a journal entry from the perspective of a member of the League for Colored Women. Be sure to include information about the work you are doing and the discrimination you are facing as you try to volunteer your services.