2022 Black History Month

World War 1: US Army's segregated 366th Infantry Officers: Abbott, Lowe, Fisher, White. National Archives
WW1: US Army’s segregated 366th Infantry Regiment Officers L-R: LT Cleveland L. Abbott, CAPT Joseph L. Lowe, LT Aaron R Fisher, CAPT E. White. Photo National Archives

We Served With Courage, Honor, Determination & Hope

January 12-March 11, 2022
Wednesdays-Sundays, 1-7pm
Veterans Gallery, Rm 102, Veterans Building
401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco
Free Admission
Opening Reception January 11, 4-7pm

A visual history of African Americans in the military from the Revolutionary War through World War II. This exhibit honors the strong and brave black and brown people who served and fought for freedom in America and overseas. Photographs, posters and memorabilia tell the story of their service. They fought and died in battles and wars for their country while being denied respect, human dignity and freedom at home. These patriots served heroically with courage, honor, determination and with the hope of receiving their basic rights as American citizens.

1770: the first colonist killed in the American Revolution was Crispus Attucks, a man who escaped slavery.

African American men and women served our country in segregated and not equal status. They were racially discriminated against and denigrated in many ways. Almost all dining, living, recreational, working and hospital facilities were segregated. They were often assigned non-combat duties which did not allow advancement in rank. They were routinely denied recognition, promotion, and honors. In spite of these hardships, African Americans served with dignity and the hope that courageous dedicated service would earn them respect and equal rights.

Executive Order 9981

Three years after World War II on July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981 Establishing The President’s Committee On Equality Of Treatment And Opportunity In The Armed Services — promoting equal treatment and officially abolishing discrimination “on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin.” It was a crucial event in the post-World War II civil rights movement and a major achievement of Truman’s presidency and led to the integration of the military during the Korean War (1950–1953).

Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the US Armed Forces during WWII. The American military was racially segregated and the Airmen were subject to discrimination in and outside the army. Painting by Jan Padover

Exhibit is curated Vietnam Veteran Bertram C. Clark Jr from his collection. This exhibit honors Clark’s grandfather and the millions of forgotten African American men and women who have served in the US Armed Forces .

Curator Bertram C. Clark, Jr. was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He joined the ranks of African American patriots who, since the birth of our nation, have accepted the challenge to defend American ideals. Clark served in the United States Navy from 1967 through 1969, active duty aboard the USS Furse DD882 and the USS Putnam DD 757. While deployed in the Gulf of Tonkin, he saw combat in Vietnam, aboard the USS Furse DD882. Clark’s service aboard the USS Furse took him to Panama, Mexico, the Philippine Islands, Guam, Japan, Hawaii, the Midway Islands, and Hong Kong.

Released from active duty in 1969 Mr. Clark returned home to Louisville and attended the University of Louisville for a short period before living in New York and Philadelphia. Eventually, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and worked for the Federal Government and retired after nearly 30 years.

Mr. Clark has an Associate of Arts degrees in African American Studies, Social Science and Liberal Arts from Laney College and Berkeley City (Vista) College, Bachelor of Public Administration and Master of Public Administration degrees from the University of San Francisco. He is a collector of African and African American art, books, music and memorabilia since the 1970’s and has collected African Americans in the military photographs, artifacts, books and posters since the 1980s. He dreams of opening an Arts and Cultural Center/Museum. He is happy and proud to share his collection with everyone who wants to learn about African American history, culture and their contributions to American and the world.

For More Information: Bertram C. Clark, clarkbertram77@gmail.com, 510 325-0685, 510 238-8437
Photos available upon request.