Negro Soldiers


Writer Describes Colored Soldiers Laboring at Supply Camps In World War

Racial satire, long account

One Response to Negro Soldiers

  • Editor says:

    The quartermaster truck dropped us off on the south side of the city (Toul, France, 1918) near a huge pile of army material. There were other quartermaster trucks besides the one we had ridden in—they were being loaded and unloaded by gangs of nefro boys. Some of the boys sang as they worked:

    Black man fights wid de shovel and de pick— Lordy, turn your face on me; He never gits no rest ‘cause he never gits sick— Lordy, turn your face on me.

    These Negroes had not seen actual fighting. They had been detailed to a less glorious, but by no means less important, side of warfare. The first and third lines were sung by a single voice, while the second and fourth were sung in a freely harmonized manner by all who wished to join in. Many times this ensemble singing was almost lost in the noise of the moving feet and the picking up and putting down of heavy objects. It was more like an echo:

    Jines de army fur to git free clothes— Lordy, turn your face on me; What we’re fighting’ ‘bout, nobody knows— Lordy, turn your face on me….