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March 12th WWrite Blog Weekend Update - This Week's Writerly News from the U.S. WWI Centennial Site

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Tracy Crow, Citizens Create, Indie Film Fest, Trench Coat

News Items from this Week

Lela Leibrand courtesy of Women Marines Association blog pictured with husband and daughter Ginger RogersThis Week's WWrite Featured Post: Tracy Crow and Lela Leibrand In the first post to celebrate and honor Women's History Month, U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Tracy Crow Writes about WWI Female Marine Sergeant Lela Leibrand (Ginger Rogers' Mother!) A U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Writer, Tracy Crow, author of critically-acclaimed works about the veteran experience and writing, discusses WWI Female Marine Sergeant Lela Leibrand, one of the first 10 women to join the Marine Corps in 1918. Leibrand was also mother to star Ginger Rogers. A great read! And, as always, please encourage friends to subscribe to the blog! Look out for Jerri Bell's post about Marjory Stoneman Douglas up next! (Photo of Leibrand, her husband, and Ginger Rogers, her daughter. Courtesy of Women Marines Association Blog)

Read more: March 12th WWrite Blog Weekend Update - This Week's Writerly News from the U.S. WWI Centennial Site

WWrite Blog Weekend Update - This Week's Writerly News from the U.S. WWI Centennial Site

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Pritzker Military Writing Prize, Seaside Writer's Conference, Robert Laplander's new book, Darryl Dillard

It's official! Each weekend, the WWrite Blog will post a "WWrite Blog Weekend Update! This Week's Writerly News from the U.S. WWI Centennial Site." In addition to the WWrite featured posts, these weekend posts will highlight all things writerly happening on the Commission's website for the past week. They will also feature various news items about WWrite Bloggers like recent publications, public talks, and conferences. If you have a news item regarding WWI and writing, please contact me at jennifer.orth-veillon@worldwar1centennial.org

News items from this week

Tim OBrien photoTim O'Brien, Winner of the 2013 Pritzker AwardPritzker Military Museum Library and Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Established in 2007 and sponsored by the Tawani foundation, the Pritzker Literature Award serves to recognize a living author who has made a significant contribution to the understanding of military history including military affairs. These contributions may be academic, non-fiction, or a combination of any of the three. The recipient may be of any nationality and may have written their collective works in any language. The Award includes a citation, medallion, and $100,000. Past winners include Tim O'Brien, Hew Strachan, David Hackett Fischer, Antony Beevor, Sir Max Hastings, Carlo d'Este, Rick Atkinson, Gerhard L. Weinberg, Allan R. Millett, and James McPherson. For details, see Pritzker Award.

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Actor/Writer Darryl Dillard on the Great War's Influence for Black Male Actors Today

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WWI Poster 2008 Vogue CoverWWI Military Recruitment Poster next to 2008 Vogue Controversial Cover with Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen

Actor/Writer Darryl Dillard on the Great War's Influence for Black Male Actors Today

WWI was the war to end all wars (or so we thought). It came at a time when America was still dealing with a struggle of equality in its own walls.

To prove loyalty to the country and gain respect, blacks volunteered in droves to join the war and fight for their country side by side with whites. They wanted to be equals, willing to fight. They also believed this was their chance to be seen just as human as a white person. Slavery had been officially abolished, but that did not stop the mistreatment of blacks. Abuse and lynching continued despite new laws. Most whites thought blacks were not humans, but animals, and much less intelligent than whites.

Insert & upload images/pdf/ppt Circa 1920 advertisement for frozen dessert. Used by Spike Lee for 2000 film poster, Bamboozled, in which a African American T.V. writer proposes a minstrel show in blackface. To his chagrin, it becomes a hit.The media of the time legitimized these thoughts and beliefs.  Blacks in mainstream media were nonexistent except for white actors in black face. Al Jolson was the most prominent.  His image was used for ads portraying blacks as less human than whites—as animalistic. This representation of blacks as animals continued in films such as D.W. Griffith’s 1915 "The Birth of a Nation," in which the good Christian men tried to protect their community from the scourge of the black man. Dressed in white sheets, they tracked down an aggressive black man, played by a white actor in blackface, who was destroying their town and raping women, to kill him. Another scene from the time has a white woman jumping off a cliff to keep from being taken by a black man. Again, the actor was white, in blackface.

Read more: Actor/Writer Darryl Dillard on the Great War's Influence for Black Male Actors Today

On a Boat Alone: African American Wives Post WWI

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Pilgrim at Suresnes July 26 1930Pilgrim at Suresnes July 26, 1930On a Boat Alone: African American Wives Post WWI​
Black History Month has given the Centennial Commission the opportunity to showcase the achievements of African Americans during WWI. One of WWrite’s latest posts about writer and suffragist Ida B. Well’s influence on Major Jasmine Motupalli’s military career highlighted the increased presence of political activism among African American women in the US during the WWI era (Major Motupalli's Post). WWI Centennial News reposted a Military Times article by former Illinois Senator and Ambassador to New Zealand, Carol Mosely Braun, in which she honors African American combat accomplishments in France. Her own grandfather, Thomas Davie, was posthumously awarded a U.S. Victory medal and fought in the Meuse-Argonne battle (Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun Article Link). This week, I wanted to talk about the wives of African American servicemen killed in combat.

Read more: On a Boat Alone: African American Wives Post WWI

Major Jasmine Walker Motupalli Reveals Historically-Influenced Path: Iraq and Afghanistan Inspired by Ida B. Wells' WWI Fight

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Major Jasmine Walker Motupalli Reveals Historically-Influenced Path: Iraq and Afghanistan Inspired by Ida B. Wells' WWI FightJasmine Montupalli Logar Province PhotoMAJ Jasmine Motupalli in Logar Province, Afghanistan, with civilian children and fellow soldier

*As a veteran of both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, where I served as an intelligence officer, I often think about how different my life might have been had I lived in a different period of history. A quick look at most American wars tells me that I would have never been an officer. I would have never been on the front line. But I do know that I would have done whatever I could to fight the fight. As a black woman during World War I, perhaps I might have been supporting the war effort at home by working in factory jobs vacated by men. Perhaps I would have chosen to prove my patriotism by serving as a nurse for the segregated black units in the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. Ida B.Wells PhotoIda B.Wells

But, in the face of inequality, I tend to be a bit rebellious and, even in 1914-1918, I’m pretty sure I would have tried to break the ceiling even further. During this time, I would have followed one of my heroes, Ida B. Wells, journalist, suffragist, editor, and activist. She fought for voting rights and equal treatment for women who looked like me. During WWI, she sold Liberty Bonds and distributed care packages to black soldiers. But her fight didn’t stop there. She worked to defend black men falsely accused of crimes throughout the country. Following the Houston Race Riot of 1917, she fiercely protested the hanging of 13 black soldiers hung by a military court without recourse to appeal or review by the president.

Read more: Major Jasmine Walker Motupalli Reveals Historically-Influenced Path: Iraq and Afghanistan Inspired...

Graphic Novels and Native American WWI Soldiers

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Graphic Novels and Native American WWI Soldiers

Soldiers Unknown CoverCover artwork of SOLDIERS UNKNOWN by Chag Lowry and Rahsan EkedalThis week, the U.S. WWI Centennial Commission DISPATCH featured an interview with Chag Lowry, a Native American graphic artist, who has a new book coming out, SOLDIERS UNKNOWN. Inspired by the history of two great-great-uncles who served in WWI, SOLDIERS UNKNOWN, Lowry teamed up with artist Rahsan Ekedal to write about the 91st Infantry Division's experience in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive.

Read more: Graphic Novels and Native American WWI Soldiers

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