True Blue

Artist unknown; Publisher: Edward George Renesch (American, 1879–1942)
1919
MediumColor offset lithograph
Dimensions20 × 16 inches
CreditMuseum Purchase, 2018
Accession Number2018.24

In this print, a mother and her children admire a portrait of their husband and father in uniform, while a Blue Star flag, signifying his military service, hangs in the window. More than 350,000 African American men served in the armed forces during World War I, most in segregated service units. Posters and prints depicting the African American experience during The Great War are relatively rare, and Edward George Renesch was one of a handful of publishers—all White—to distribute them. This piece was produced the year after the war ended, while soldiers were still returning from combat. Many African American soldiers had hoped that their patriotic service and sacrifice would help prove their status as first-class citizens. Unfortunately, America failed to recognize their contributions at the time, and it would be decades before race relations would improve.

Exhibition History