Please take a moment to share this post and help get the word out about Lauren Smith-Fields (@soooolalaa on IG) & the lack of respect shown by the Bridgeport PD to her grieving family. She was a spoiled black girl in her own right & her death should be investigated as thoroughly as others are. Rest In Peace, love. You will truly be missed.
"Somewhere in England, Maj. Charity E. Adams,...and Capt. Abbie N. Campbell, ...inspect the first contingent of Negro members of the Women's Army Corps assigned to overseas service." 2/15/1945. NARA ID 16214.
Women’s Auxiliary Corps Captain Adams drills her company 5/1943. NARA ID 531334.
"The negro WAC battalion's first parade on the continent. Rouen, France." 5/27/1945. NARA ID 175539237
Black Female WWII Unit Gets (Congressional) GOLD!
WWII's 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion
By Miriam Kleiman, Public Affairs
"Tech. Sgt. Tommye Berry, Acting 1st Sgt. of the Negro WAC group" 4/16/1945. NARA ID 535929.
The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was signed into law by President Roosevelt and set to active duty status on July 1, 1943, but this group did not include Black women. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Civil Rights icon Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune (see: related Tumblr post) advocated for the inclusion of Black women who were eager to contribute to the war effort.
Finally, approval was gained, volunteers enlisted, and the battalion trained at Fort Oglethorpe, GA. In February 1945, the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion (the self-proclaimed “Six Triple Eight”) deployed - becoming the only all-Black, all-female unit to serve in Europe in WWII. They were led by Major Charity Adams, the highest-ranking Black woman in the US Army during WWII.
The 6888th organized and sorted mail for delivery to U.S. soldiers in Europe. They worked around the clock, fighting not only the mail backlog but also racism, sexism—and the Third Reich.
On March 14, 2022, President Biden signed a bill into law to award the women of the 6888th Battalion a Congressional Gold Medal "in recognition of their pioneering military service, devotion to duty, and contributions to increase the morale of personnel stationed in the European theater of operations during World War II." Award ceremony date TBA.
The 6888th by the numbers:
855 - # of Black women in the 6888th
3 - # of months it took them to clear a 6-month backlog of mail.
3 separate 8-hour shifts, 7 days a week - work hours.
65,000 - # of pieces of mail processed per shift
17 million - # of pieces of mail processed by the conflict’s end.
77 years - # of years wait for these women to be honored by Congress
The 6888th faced overflowing warehouses stacked with letters and packages for anxiously awaiting GIs. The women of the 6888th knew the importance of such connections to the soldiers and embraced as their motto: “no mail, low morale.” Facing huge volumes of “undeliverable” mail, they developed a tracking system using 7 million servicemember ID cards to correctly route the letters and package.
“The women of ‘Six Triple Eight’ confronted warehouses stacked to the ceiling with letters and packages. These buildings were unheated and dimly lit, the windows blacked out to prevent light showing during nighttime air raids. Rats sought out packages of spoiled cakes and cookies,” the Army said.
Example of the backlog of vast quantities of Christmas mail en route to American soldiers.” NARA ID 111-SC-197654.
“WACs sort packages, taken from the mail sacks by French civilian employees, at the 17th Base Post Office. Paris, France.” NARA ID 175539203.
Continuing legacy of the 6888th:
The 6888th returned to the United States in February 1946 and was disbanded without any public appreciation or official recognition of their work. However, their accomplishments led the General Board, United States Forces European Theater, to note in their December 1945 study of the Women’s Army Corps: “[T]he national security program is the joint responsibility of all Americans irrespective of color or sex” and “the continued use of colored, along with white, female military personnel is required in such strength as is proportionately appropriate to the relative population distribution between colored and white races.”
11/30/2018: monument in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas was made in their honor.
2/25/2009: The 6888th women were honored Arlington National Cemetery's Women in Military Service for America Memorial.
"Post exchange officer serves the first Coca Cola to Major Charity Adams at the grand opening of the WAC battalion's new snack bar. Rouen, France." NARA ID 175539159.
President Obama greets Alyce Dixon, the oldest living Black American WW2 veteran, in the Oval Office, 10/27/2014. NARA ID 176552374.
Washington Post story on Romay Johnson Davis: She joined the only Black female unit sent overseas in WWII. Now 102, she’s the oldest living member.
No Mail, Low Morale: The 6888th Central Postal Battalion, Unwritten Record
Their War Too: US Women in the Military During WWII, The Text Message
Pictures of African Americans During World War II
African American Women in the Military During WWII, Blog Post
6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, US Army Center of Military History
The SixTripleEight: No Mail, Low Morale, The National WWII Museum
Women of the 6888th Central Postal Battalion
H.R.1012 – ‘Six Triple Eight’ Congressional Gold Medal Act of 2021, Congress
The 4th in our series celebrating Black History Month (Feb) and Women's History Month (March).
We honor WW2’s #InvisibleWarriors!
Fannie Lou Hamer “Nobody's free until everybody's free."