African American Soldiers 1 Riveters The pilots African American Officers doughboys with mules pilots in dress uniforms Mule Rearing gas masks

John Brother Cade

Submitted by: Johnette Brooks {GA WWI African American Historian}

John Brother Cade uniformJohn Brother Cade was born around 1894. John Brother Cade served in World War 1 with the United States Army. The enlistment was in 1917 and the service was completed in 1917.

Story of Service


2nd Lt. John Brother Cade
1894 – 1970
Elberton, GA
Southern University Library Namesake | Historian | Author | Educator

By Johnette Brooks

John Brother Cade (aka John B.) was born on 19 October 1894 in Elberton, GA. He was the second child of William Richard and Sara Francis (Bradford) Cade. His siblings are his elder brother Luther (also a WWI Private); William Jr.; Dora J.; Luthura and Leola. He attended St. Paul’s CME Church grade school. In 1915, he graduated from Knox Institute and Industrial School in Athens, GA. He was an early member of the C.M.E. or Colored Methodist Church.

Shortly after entering college, John became one of the first to volunteer for the new WWI Officers School in 1917. On 12 June, he was plowing his daddy’s field during the summer college break when he received the notice of his appointment shortly after 8AM. After refusing to pay double the bus fare to a negro man in Elberton with a car, he took the Greyhound bus and arrived too late to take the 3:40PM, non-stop train the Army provided to Iowa. So, he boarded the Dixie Flyer the next day and immediately saw faces he recognized. He first saw (future 1 Lt.) Pierce M. Thompson, the Albany Normal and Industrial School principal; then William Robinson, an Albany teacher; John J. James, a mail carrier from Thomasville.

He completed the 17th Provisional Officers Training Program in Des Moines, Iowa. And was commissioned the rank of 2nd Lt. During WWI, he served in 366th Infantry, Company F. He was ordered to Camp Dodge, Iowa and then, Hoboken, N.J. in preparation to go overseas. He served and documented, the tallest officer in the Army (see image), 1Lt. Mallalieu Rush. 1Lt. Rush (whose mom was the Atlanta University Girls Dorm Manager) was killed in action (KIA) on 11 Nov 1919.

2Lt. Cade sailed on the USS Covington on 27 June 1918 from Hoboken, N.J to Brest, France with many other Georgian and Alabama comrades. While in Des Moines and France, John B. along with 1st Lt. Harrison J. Pinkett (Nebraska) taught 50% of their trainees how to sign their name for payroll after only a month. John B. and Pinkett received permission to continue to teach the mostly illiterate Alabama native soldiers of the 366th. By the time they left France they had trained more than 2300 African American troops to read and write.

John was wounded in action (WIA) during battle 11 NOV 1918 at Bois-de-Voivrotte, France for which he was awarded a Purple Heart Medal. Later, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor. He returned from France on 28 FEB 1919 and received an honorable discharge on 31 MAR 1919.

2Lt. Cade returned home and chronicled his 22 months in Uncle Sam’s Army via tedious dally journaling of his daily activities which includes the names and dates of everyone he encountered (many of whom were officers from Georgia or attended A.U. and served with him), to daily weather, French town descriptions, segregation (and non-segregation), traveling conditions; troop education and leadership; along with providing to the array of Alabama farm hands and sharecropper who made up the core of the 366th Infantry. For anyone researching the gradual experience of African Americas soldiers, 22 Months with “Uncle Sam” is a “foundational must” for their research.

He graduated from Atlanta University with a A.B. (equivalent to a Bachelor of Arts, today) in 1921 and an A.M. (equivalent to a Master of Arts, today) from the University of Chicago in 1928. While attending A.U., John became a founding member of the Eta Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. in Atlanta along with former WWI comrades from Georgia, 1Lt. Fletcher Henderson and Pvt. Herbert Greenwood.

Professor Cade became a lifelong educator, historian and archivist. He went on to work as an Instructor at Paine College in Augusta, GA (1921-29); a registrar at Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA (1929-30), director of Teacher Training (1930-31); as registrar and director of Liberal Arts & Sciences at Prairie View State College, Prairie View, TX (1931-39) . And finally, back to Louisiana to serve as Southern U’s Dean and Director of Extension Services (1939-61).

He retired from Southern University in 1961. While at Southern, he authored three (3) books: “Twenty-Two Months with “Uncle Sam”; “Holsey: The Incomparable” a biography of Bishop Louis Henry Holsey, one of the founders of the Colored Methodist Church (CME) and “The Man Christened Josiah Clark”, the story of the founder of Southern University, Dr. Joseph Samuel Clark.

Additionally, he conducted two sets of slave interviews, the first as a collaboration with 36 of his students at Southern; who conducted 82 interviews (1929-30). The second set was conducted on a similar project at Prairie View (1935-38) where they interviewed 400+ ex-slaves.

It seems John B., like many of his fellow WWI officers, was a bit of an activist. On 5 SEP 1953, he was a witness at a Louisiana State University Negro [segregated] lawsuit hearing. Along with being a lifetime member of Alpha Phi Alpha; he was also a member of American Legion Post 502.

He was listed in both “Who’s Who in Negro America” and “Who’s Who in Colored America” (1942).

John married Jessie Mae Maben circa 1923. They had Jessie Lola Cade-Washington circa 1924, by 1941 she was a freshman at Southern U. and her, John Brother, Jr. was circa 7 years old . John B., Jr, later attended Southern U.’s Lab High School and graduated from Southern U. as an Alpha Phi Alpha and became a teacher, just like his dad.

Lastly, after his retirement, he established the Archives of Black Louisiana History on Southern’s campus.

He passed away in the East Louisiana State Hospital in Jackson, LA on 31 JAN 1970. The new library was named, John B. Cade Library in his honor by Camille Stivers Shade at the library dedication ceremony on 8 OCT 1987. The new facility has a seating capacity.

He is buried the Southern Memorial Gardens and Mausoleum in East Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

5dfb95efa4243 1918 GA (WWI) John B. CADE (2Lt) Image from 22 Months with Uncle Sam, 1923


Johnette Brooks image

5dfb95efa49e3 1918 GA WWI Red Clay Logos   Images Only



“America’s Roll of Honor” Atlanta Constitution. (Atlanta, Georgia), Dec 14, 1918.

“John B. Cade Se., 75, Retired Dean At Southern Buried.“ Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, PA), Feb. 14, 1970.

“Dean Cade Rites to Be Wednesday.” Times. (Shreveport, Louisiana), Feb. 14, 1970.

“Dean Cade Rites to Be Wednesday.” Shreveport Journal. (Shreveport, Louisiana), Feb. 14, 1970.

“Holsey: The Incomparable” Courier Book Shelf. Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, PA), Jul. 4, 1964.

John B. Cade. “Out of the Mouths of Ex-Slaves.” Journal of Negro History,  20 (July 1935): 295


Baton Rouge Directory. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. Directories, 1822-1995 via Ancestry.com. 1954.


“Memorial Services Held for Brother John Cade, Sr.” Sphinx: Alpha Phi Alpha Magazine 56, no.1 (1970).
“LSU Negro Suit Hearing Tuesday” Daily World (Opelousas, LA)

Adams, Myron W., compiler. General Catalogue of Atlanta University 1867-1918. Atlanta: University Press. 1918.

Barbeau, Arthur E. and Henri, Florette. Unknown Soldier: African-Americans Troops in World War I. New York: De Camp Press, 1996.
Cade, John B. Twenty-Two Months with “Uncle Sam”, Atlanta: Robinson-Cofer, 1929.

Dalessandro, Robert J. & Torrence, Gerald. Willing Patriots: Men of Color in the First World War. Atglen: Schiffer Publishing Ltd & Design, 2009.

Lentz-Smith, Adriane. Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 2009.

Meier, Rudwick and Rudwick. Along the Color Line: Exploration in the Black Experience. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1976.

Phillips, Robert K. Weevils in the Wheat: Interviews with Virginia Ex-Slaves. Purdue, Pearson, ed. University of Virginia. 1976.

Salter I, Krewasky A. The Story of Black Military Officers, 1861 - 1948. New York: Routledge Publishing, 2014.

Scott, Emmett Jay. Scott’s Official History of the American Negro in the World War. The War College Series. 1919.

Slotkin, Richard. Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2005.

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Thompson, John L. History and Views of Colored Officers Training Camp: For 1917 at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. Des Moines: The Bystander. 1917. Atlanta: Digitized by Emory University. Retrieved via Google Books.

Williams, Chad. Torchbearers of Democracy: African Americans Soldiers in the World War I Era. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2010.

Wilson, Adam P. African American Army Officers of World War I: A Vanguard of Equality in War and Beyond. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers. 1983.

enser, Thomas. Who’s Who in Colored America: A Bibliographical Dictionary of Notable Living Persons of African Descent in America, Sixth Edition,1941 - 1944. Brooklyn: Thomas Yenzer Publishing. 1942.

Yetman, Norman R., “The Background of the Slave Narrative Collection,” Americn Quarterly 19, no.3


Baton Rouge Directory. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. Directories, 1822-1995 via Ancestry.com. 1954


“Application for Victory Medals”, Georgia Adjutant General’s Office. World War I Statements of Service Cards. Georgia State Archives, Morrow, Georgia.

“Application for Social Security”, United States Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service. Washington, D.C.

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“Lists of Incoming Passengers, 1917-1938”, Textual records. 360 Boxes. NAI: 6234465. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. The National Archives at College Park, Maryland. 1774-1985.

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