"The fighting had ceased but... democracy had not won": Helen Noble Curtis and the Rise of a Black International Feminism in World War I France

Title"The fighting had ceased but... democracy had not won": Helen Noble Curtis and the Rise of a Black International Feminism in World War I France
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsMoore, Laura
JournalJournal of Women's History
Volume30
Issue4
Pagination109 - 133
Date Published2018///Winter
Abstract

Helen Noble Curtis was a prominent race woman, peace advocate, Pan-African spokesperson, and the first African American woman to serve in France during the First World War. Although scholars have focused on the totality of the war moment for African American male soldiers, less attention has been given to the African American women who served as Young Men's Christian Association canteen workers in France. The fact that they were African American and women magnified the risks they faced and intensified the extent of their sacrifice. In applying a microhistorical analysis of Curtis's activism, this article describes the particulars of the African American female experience in the First World War and the processes by which these experiences cultivated and emboldened an internationalist and militant activism in the postwar period. It is imperative that the experiences of the African American women who served in France be brought out of the shadows of the past and their service acknowledged.

Short TitleJournal of Women's History