Commemorating African American Soldiers in France

There are several monuments in France commemorating the military actions of African American soldiers during World War I. In this activity, students will view photographs of the monuments and compare and contrast the monuments.

Guiding Questions

  • How are World War I African American soldiers remembered in France?
  • What are key characteristics of memorials/monuments to the African American soldiers?
  • What are key differences between the monuments to African American soldiers?

Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Identify the main reasons for the existence and location of each monument.
  • Compare and contrast each monument.
  • Perform an oral presentation on the importance of the monument.

Pre-activities

  • Assign the students to view the presentation.
  • As they view the photographs of the monuments, ask them to take notes on the following:
    • The shape of the monument
    • Whether there are any religious symbols
    • Their general impressions of the monument
    • The geographic features that surround the site
    • Whether the sites are well-maintained
    • Whether the monument mentions the race of the soldiers
  • After taking notes, the students will pair with another student and share their insights.

Activities

  • Assign the students to read background information (see links in left column) about the monuments and the battles.
  • Assign the students to create a chart that lists the features of
  • each of the monuments.
  • Ask the students to list two similarities between the monuments and two differences between the monuments.
  • Ask the students to hypothesize why some monuments mention the race of the soldiers and other monuments do not. Does race matter?

Assessment

  • Divide the students into groups and assign each group one of the monuments.
  • Assign the group to create a brochure for their assigned monument.

Checklist for Monument Brochure:

  • Contains a photograph of the monument.
  • Contains a brief history of the monument.
  • Contains a brief history of the group of soldier that the monument honors.
  • Contains at least two reasons why people should visit the monument.
  • Contains at least two reasons why the monument should be protected and maintained.

Teacher Planning

Time Required

90 minutes

Materials Needed

Photographs
Commemorating African American Soldiers in France Powerpoint Presentation
Websites