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Black and white photograph of Major Jose H. Sherwood, 1918.

Major Jose H. Sherwood

Major Jose H. Sherwood, 1918. Sherwood commanded the Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard.

Black and white newspaper image of Charles Sumner Smith, c.1917.

Charles Sumner Smith

Charles Sumner Smith was Captain of Company D of the Sixteenth Battalion, Minnesota Home Guard. Image is from the St. Paul Appeal, August 25, 1917.

Black and white newspaper image of Patrick. H. Southall. c.1917.

Patrick. H. Southall

Patrick. H. Southall was Second Lt. of Company D of the Sixteenth Battalion, Minnesota Home Guard. Image is from the St. Paul Appeal, March 31, 1917.

Black and white newspaper image of Charles H. Miller, c.1917.

Charles H. Miller

Charles Miller led the Sixteenth Battalion Drum Corps. Image is from the St. Paul Appeal, March 31, 1917.

Black and white photograph of Dr. Valdo Turner in his office, c.1915.

Dr. Valdo Turner

Dr. Valdo Turner in his office, c.1915. Turner was captain of the Sixteenth Battalion Medical Corps, Minnesota Home Guard.

Black and white newspaper image of George W. Holbert, c.1911.

George W. Holbert

George W. Holbert, c.1911. Holbert was Second Lt. of Company C of the Sixteenth Battalion, Minnesota Home Guard. Image is from the St. Paul Appeal, October 28, 1911.

Sixteenth Battalion, Minnesota Home Guard

During World War I, African American Minnesotans wanted to serve their state and their nation. Historically, however, the U.S. military had been racist in its recruiting. It allowed African Americans to serve only in segregated units. Facing this institutional racism, the African American community of Minnesota asked Governor J.A.A. Burnquist to form an all-African American battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard. The Sixteenth Battalion became the first Minnesota-recruited African American military unit in state history.

An advertisement for a concert put on by the Sixteenth Battalion Band from the St. Paul Appeal, October 25, 1919. The band was led by Lieutenant William Howard.

Advertisement for Sixteenth Battalion Band concert

An advertisement for a concert put on by the Sixteenth Battalion Band from the St. Paul Appeal, October 25, 1919. The band was led by Lieutenant William Howard.

Black and white photograph of embers of Company A, Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard, c.1918.

Members of Company A, Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard

Members of Company A, Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard, c.1918. Standing at right is Captain Clarence Wigington, who petitioned the governor to allow the formation of an African American unit. To his left is Lieutenant Homer Goins. Seated (L to R) are Dr. George Berry and Sergeant William Griffin. The remaining pictured are unidentified.

Black and white photograph of members of the Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard, c.1918. After petitioning the governor, African American citizens formed their own battalion in order to serve.

Members of the Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard

Members of the Sixteenth Battalion of the Minnesota Home Guard, c.1918. After petitioning the governor, African American citizens formed their own battalion in order to serve.

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