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First African-American recipient of the WWI Medal of Honor

freddie stowers
Donors and family members unveil the statue of Freddie Stowers on the campus of Anderson University. Photo/Paul Brown, The Greenville News

While researching African-Americans who served in the WWI American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) from her community, oral historian and Furman History Professor Courtney L. Tollison Hartness discovered the compelling story of a soldier who perished Sept. 28, 1918 during the Battle of Meuse-Argonne. Freddie Stowers of Sandy Springs, South Carolina, was the first African-American recipient of the WWI Medal of Honor. But he didn’t receive the award until 73 years after his death. Tollison’s story about Stowers and the racial inequities surrounding military honors, appears on the website for the United States World War I Centennial Commission.

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