Once the United States became involved in the war in 1917, one half century had passed since the end of slavery and African-Americans were still experiencing both segregation and discrimination. Despite his own dismal record on black civil rights, President Woodrow Wilson realized he would need black support for America’s war effort. Wilson’s Committee on Public Information under the direction of George Creel was tasked with producing posters to further this objective.
Entitled “True Sons of Freedom”, this poster by artist Charles Gustrine depicts victorious black soldiers, including a saber wielding officer, overwhelming a German unit while Lincoln looks on approvingly from the heavens. Because of his crucial role in ending American slavery, Abraham Lincoln was a revered figure in many African-American homes.