• Collection ID MSM15107
  • Creator Names Smith, James L., 1922-1999.
  • Title James L. Smith papers and audio recordings [manuscript], 1922-1999.
  • Physical description
    • 0.5 linear ft.
    • 11 micro sound cassettes.
  • Access and usage restrictions For listening purposes, it is necessary to use a copy, not the original (and to have a listening copy made if one is not available).
  • Collection summary
    • Interviews and correspondence of James L. Smith by his daughter Pam Smith, regarding the Association of the 2,221 Negro Volunteers of WWII, Mr. Smith 's military career, and Affirmative Action. Mr. Smith served in the U.S. Army, 1942 to 1953, and was a member of the first group of African American soldiers chosen to serve in a racially integrated unit of the military. The unit served in heavy combat in Germany in 1945 but received little popular recognition until the Association of the 2,221 Negro Volunteers of WWII began to hold reunions in the 1990s and lobby for recognition by the federal government. J. Cameron Wade was founder and chairman of the association. Also present in the collection is a small amount of material about Mr. Smith's daughter, Pam Smith, when she resided in Burundi in 1994.
    • Folder 1 contains local and national news articles regarding the Association. Folder 2 contains Smith's personal documents and correspondence. Folder 3 contains original military documentation, including Honorable Discharge paperwork and certification of his Bronze Star Medal and other service awards. Folder 4 includes "Special Studies: The Employment of Negro Troops" by Ulysses Lee, the U.S. policy on employing black servicemen. Folder 5 consists of letters of congratulations from the federal government, including President Bill Clinton, Gen. Colin Powell (Joint Chiefs of Staff), and various senators. It also includes the history of the Association, certificates, records of donations, correspondence, etc. Included in this collection is also a 1941 Englewood High School (Chicago, Ill.) senior yearbook.
  • Location of Other Archival Materials Note Related materials at Chicago History Museum, Research Center, include the James L. Smith photograph collection (2003.0120). Military medals awarded to Mr. Smith, including the Bronze Star, are in the artifact collection.
  • Acquisition information Gift of Pam Smith, daughter of James L. Smith (2003.0120).
  • Names
    • Smith, James L., 1922-1999 Archives.
    • Smith, Pam.
    • Wade, J. Cameron.
    • United States. Army African American troops.
    • Association of the 2,221 Negro Volunteers of WWII.
    • Englewood High School (Chicago, Ill.) Yearbooks, 1941.
    • Smith, Pam, interviewer. ivr
    • Association of the 2,221 Negro Volunteers of WWII.
  • Subjects
    • African American soldiers Illinois Chicago 20th century.
    • World War, 1939-1945.
    • World War, 1939-1945 Veterans United States.
    • Veterans Illinois Chicago 20th century.
    • Veterans Illinois Chicago Societies, etc.
    • African American families Illinois Chicago 20th century.
  • Geographic coverage
    • United States Armed Forces African Americans 20th century.
    • Chicago (Ill.) Social conditions 20th century.
    • Burundi Description and travel 20th century.
    • Englewood (Chicago, Ill.) 20th century.
  • Genre
    • Oral histories. aat
    • Audiocassettes. aat
    • Yearbooks. aat
  • Geographic name United States Illinois Cook County Chicago.