Collection History

This digital compilation was developed in support of the NYPL website, "The African American Migration Experience," a sweeping 500-year historical narrative from the transatlantic slave trade to the Western migration, the colonization movement, the Great Migration, and the contemporary immigration of Caribbeans, Haitians, and sub-Saharan Africans.

Related Resources

NYPL. "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience."(2005) <>

Collection Data

The Military collection documents primarily the military activities of African Americans in the United States armed forces, dating from before the American Revolution to the mid-1980s. The collection, which depicts mostly the wartime activities of the United States military and is strongest for the period from World War II (1940s) to the mid-1950s, includes single and group portraits of enlisted personnel and officers; views of battles and troop movements; views of military encampments near battle sites or in foreign lands; and views of military bases and training camps, depicting daily military life and basic training, mainly from the 1940s to the mid-1950s. The U.S. Army, Navy, and Marine Corps are the most represented branches of the armed services. Images from the 1700s, the 1800s, the Korean War and Vietnamese Conflict, and the late-1950s to the 1890s are limited. Images depicting civilians employed in the war industries during World War II are filed separately. There are some depictions of foreign troops, mainly during World War II.
Hansen, Austin, 1910-1996 (Photographer)
Layne, Cecil (Photographer)
DeMille, Arnold C. (Photographer)
Smith, Roger (Photographer)
United States. Office of War Information (Sponsor)
United States. Army. Signal Corps (Sponsor)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1755 - 1989 (Approximate)
Library locations
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division
Shelf locator: Sc Photo Military
African Americans
African-American soldiers
African American officers
Military personnel
Armed Forces -- United States
Salem, Peter, 1750-1816
Europe, James Reese, 1881-1919
Horne, Lena
Mulzac, Hugh, 1886-1971
Davis, Benjamin O., 1880-1970
Davis, Benjamin O., Jr., 1912-2002
Roosevelt, Franklin D. (Franklin Delano), 1882-1945
United States. Army
United States. Navy
United States. Air Force
United States. Coast Guard
United States. Army Air Forces. Fighter Group, 332nd
United States. Naval Reserve. Women's Reserve
United States. Army. Army, 5th
United States. Army. Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
United States. Army. Women's Army Corps
National Maritime Union of America
United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 54th (1863-1865)
United States. Army. Cavalry, 9th
United States. Army. Cavalry, 10th
Soldiers, Black
African American sailors
African American air pilots
World War, 1914-1918
World War, 1939-1945
Korean War, 1950-1953
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Spanish-American War, 1898
Tuskegee Army Air Field (Ala.)
Military bases, American
Military camps
Military life
Military training camps
Military education
Great Lakes Naval Training Center (Great Lakes, Ill.)
Liberty ships
Navy-yards and naval stations
Bunker Hill, Battle of, Boston, Mass., 1775
Harlem Servicemen's Center
Portrait photographs
Physical Description
Gelatin silver prints
Photographic postcards
Photomechanical prints
Extent: 3531 items (9.9 linear feet, 39 boxes)
2900 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&amp;w ; 26 x 21 cm. and smaller.&#13; 237 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&amp;w ; 18 x 13 cm. and smaller.&#13; 181 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&amp;w ; 13 x 11 cm. and smaller.&#13; 18 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&amp;w ; 36 x 28 cm. and smaller.&#13; 104 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&amp;w ; 16 x 8 cm. and smaller.&#13; 3 photographic prints : silver gelatin, b&amp;w ; 46 x 23 cm. and smaller&#13; 23 photographic prints : col. ; 26 x 21 cm. and smaller.&#13; 24 photomechanical prints : b&amp;w, some col., some hand-col. ; 26 x 21 cm. and smaller.&#13; 40 photomechanical prints : b&amp;w ; 18 x 13 cm. and smaller.&#13; 1 photomechanical print : b&amp;w ; 36 x 28 cm.
Type of Resource
Still image
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b13049857
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): 75b72d10-c645-012f-1555-58d385a7bc34
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