SALISBURY, MD---When Sergeant William Butler of Salisbury intercepted a German raiding party during World War I, he had no idea his efforts would lead him to be dubbed “Maryland’s Greatest Hero.”
Dr. Stephen Gehnrich of Salisbury University’s Biological Sciences Department speaks on Butler and “The Role of African-Americans in World War I” 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 10, at Edward H. Nabb Research Center for Delmarva History and Culture Gallery in the East Campus Complex (190 Wayne Street).
In 1917, many African-American leaders supported participation in the war in the hopes that military service would lead to improved civil rights in post-war America.
Butler was a member of the 369th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed Harlem Hellfighters, recognized as the most well-known African American Regiment during World War I.
Over 100 members of Harlem Hellfighters earned unit citations and individual medals from the American and French governments.
Although the Civil Rights Era was still decades away, many African-Americans gained a new sense of pride, race-consciousness and self-reliance that contributed to a more radical and defiant approach in the struggle for equal rights in the United States.
Admission to the talk is free, and the public is invited. For more information call 410-543-6312 or visit the Nabb Research Center Web site at http://nabbhistory.salisbury.edu.