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African American Women in the Military and at War

Women's stories of life in the military.

Personal Narratives

Personal narratives are a primary source that may include letters, diaries or oral histories, told from the point of view of the individual. They can be an invaluable resource for learning about African American women in the military.

The citations listed here include links to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to digital content are provided when available.

Biographies, Autobiographies, and Interviews

Stories from the Veterans History Project

Frances Thorpe seated in military uniform. Veterans History Project, Library of Congress American Folklife Center.

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Part of the Library's American Folklife Center, VHP collects and preserves the firsthand interviews and narratives of United States military veterans from World War I through the present.

In addition to audio- and video-recorded oral histories, VHP accepts memoirs and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps and other historical documents from veterans who served in the US armed services from World War I through the present.

The project makes accessible the materials that comprise this important national archive, which contains submissions from every state, and includes the US territories. VHP relies on volunteers, both individuals and organizations, throughout the nation to contribute veterans’ stories to the collection. VHP also collects oral histories with Gold Star Family members, defined as a parent, spouse, sibling, or child of members of the Armed Forces who died as a result of their service during a period of war.

A selection of interviews with African-American women veterans are included below.

You can also search for additional collections, by limiting to gender, conflict or branch of service.

Highlights from "Experiencing War"

The "Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project" series features topically arranged collections of veterans' stories. The features listed below focus on oral histories specific to African American Women or the African American wartime experience.