1From a letter of Colonel Hayward, quoted in Scott, E. J., work cited, pp. 204-206.

The first American soldiers, black or white, to receive the French Croix de Guerre, were Needham Roberts, of Trenton, N. J., and Henry Johnson, of Albany, N. Y., both members of "The Old Fifteenth" of New York, then the 369th Infantry, A.E.F. The recital of their •exploits in beating off a dozen or more Germans, after both had been wounded, was one of the first stories of heroism to be flashed over the wires and printed in newspapers throughout the country in the early days of our expedition to France. In speaking of the incident, the New York Times said, "If the good and the great who have preceded the heroes of the present are privileged to read the citations for conspicuous bravery that mark their honorable successors, how must the shade of Robert Gould Shaw rejoice." These exploits of regiments and individual heroes explain why the Germans were so afraid of the black troops and why they bestowed upon them the nickname of "Afro-American Devil Dogs." General Pershing cabled Secretary Baker, "I cannot commend too highly the spirit shown among the colored combatant troops who exhibit fine capacity for quick training and eagerness for the most dangerous work."2

When Negroes have given so much for their country, will not their country make safe for them that democracy for which so many have sacrificed and died? The Negro soul has dreamed democracy. The Negro heart has panted for the waterbrooks of liberty. Whenever the paths have led toward that immortal stream, the Negro has been willing and eager to go. If those have been paths of peace, of patient toil, of daily drudgery in field or forest, or of vaulting thought and boiling feeling, his feet have uncomplainingly sought the way. When these paths have led to war, to sacrifice, and to death, his bleeding footprints have been among those of the many left upon the sands of time. The Negro has been a man of peace, but whenever the issue of democracy has forced its devotees to battle and to death, he has not hesitated to offer himself and all he possesses. These services in agriculture, in industry, in volunteer relief, the giving of their means for loans and of themselves for duty even unto death show the feelings, the attitudes, and the habits of action toward their country and their flag of the first generation of freemen. They have caught and are bearing on the torch from the hands of those of the past. Thousands of them have shown the greatest love one human being can show others in laying down their lives like other Americans. Theirs is a challenge to other Americans to dedicate themselves to the principles of Jesus that are essentially those of democracy.

1 Quoted in The Crisis, March, 1919.

2 Quoted in newspaper dispatches, June 21, 1918.