Washington, D.C. Washington Photo Co., 1942. Panoramic photograph, 32 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches. Black-and-white photograph with captions printed below the image. Mild toning and fading. Three one-inch tears and two three- inch creases starting to split, not affecting image); moderate insect damage to upper left and rear (where rolled photo had been exposed); several small holes and two small rust stains, not affecting image. Still, good. Item #WRCAM54825
A panoramic photo of one of the first African- American training units formed at Camp Lee (now Fort Lee), Virginia in late 1941. The recruits are divided by platoon and accompanied by their predominantly white officers, with names of all printed below. More than two hundred trainees are shown and named. The 9th Quartermaster Training Regiment was the first African-American training unit to form at Camp Lee in late 1941, just before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The soldiers in this photograph likely entered the army in early 1942, and were nearing the end of their training when the image was taken. They soon would be deployed overseas or around the United States, working to store, transport, and distribute food, fuel, clothing, and ammunition necessary to supply the army's combat divisions. Camp Lee was established during World War I as a training site, and during World War II was expanded to provide training for quartermasters and related support specialists. Although some black soldiers saw combat during World War II, the vast majority were assigned to all-black quartermaster and engineer units, providing logistical support and distributing supplies and ammunition to troops around the world. President Truman finally desegregated the armed forces in 1948 with Executive Order 9981, and the last all-black unit was disbanded in 1954.
African-American World War II Army panoramas are scarce in the marketplace.