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V13 2010 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE

The E-Sylum: Volume 13, Number 27, July 4, 2010, Article 12

WWI MEDAL FOR "OUR COLORED HEROES"

There's a method to our madness. We put every back issue of The E-Sylum on our web site for the entire world to see. The beauty of this is that every once in a while, someone with some great information finds us through a web search. This week a man in California found one of our April 2007 articles while searching for information on a medal he owns. John Salyer edited and uploaded his photos for us. Thanks! -Editor

Mark Broyard writes:

Many years ago before my father died he gave me a medal he said belonged to his father who was a "colored" soldier stationed at camp Lejeune in Mississippi during World War One. The medal is identical to the one referred to in your article of 2007 entitled "Mystery Medal For "Our Colored Heroes".

Our Colored Heroes Medal Obverse Our Colored Heroes Medal Reverse

The medal is stamped "Our Colored Heroes" with an eagle on top, a portrait of a soldier below it with the inscription on a ribbon-like banner on the left side and a rising/setting sun at the bottom. The back of the medal is the same with the words "World War Began August 1, 1914, US Entered April 6, 1917, War Ended Nov 11, 1918" with two flags crossed and the words "U.S Patent Appl'd For" at the very bottom.

According to my father (Emile Joseph Broyard, Jr. of New Orleans, Louisiana), it was given to his father, Emile Joseph Broyard, Sr. (also of New Orleans) when he returned from the service after the war ended.

My father told me his father told him that the medal was presented to him by the "colored" chapter of the veterans of foreign wars (VFW). Apparently the white soldiers were honored with a parade after the war ended, but the south being as segregated as it was before, during and after the war, the city of New Orleans neglected to honor their African-American soldiers, as they were not allowed to fight and their work was limited to menial and for the most part hard labor tasks and their contributions were deemed less than worthy of honor. These medals were struck and presented to the soldiers.

I have no proof as to the validity of this story but my father was an avid coin collector with a small collection and whenever he would bring out his coins when I was a child and on into adulthood this was the story he told about this medal. It's a fascinating, logical story and one worthy of validation. Perhaps some research is in order.

Well, readers? Now that we have an image of the medal, does anyone recognize it? This is the first I've heard of a connection to the VFW. I was unaware that there were "colored" chapters. Do we have any VFW members who could contact headquarters to confirm this? -Editor

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see: MYSTERY MEDAL FOR "OUR COLORED HEROES" (www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v10n13a22.html)

Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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