Black Veterans Celebrate 100 Years as American Legion Post


Blistery winds and falling snow Monday didn’t prevent members of the George L. Giles American Legion Post 87 from the journey they’ve made every Veterans Day for the past 93 years along Martin Luther King Drive to the Victory Monument. 

The statue is dedicated to members of the Illinois National Guard Eighth Regiment, an African American unit, who died in France during World War I, including Giles, the post’s namesake. 

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In 1919, members of the unit who were lucky enough to return home weren’t universally welcomed back as heroes; often they were the subject of racism, prejudice and discrimination – attitudes that provoked Chicago’s 1919 race riots, and which likely would have kept many black veterans from being able to join fledgling chapters of the American Legion, which the U.S. government chartered that year. 

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky


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