Colonization and imperial domination colored the world during the time of the Great War. European powers had colonies in countries including Africa, India, and Asia. Imperial powers treated imperial soldiers with the same discrimination as the United States treated their African American soldiers. Popular thought asserted the supremacy of the imperial power to the subjugated population using Social Darwinism as its base.

African American soldiers shared a particular bond over such treatment with the French imperial soldiers from countries such as Morocco and Senegal. In direct contrast to their treatment of African American soldiers, the French viewed their imperial troops as uncivilized and treated them as less intelligent. And, though African American soldiers developed a camaraderie with these soldiers, many held the same assumption. The French saw African American soldiers as civilized and equal because they were from the United States and due to their prolonged interaction with the French.

By Suzanne Tetteh