City of West Des Moines salutes Blacks in armed forces on last day of Black History Month

Black History Month might technically be over — and Black history might be under assault — but we celebrate it every day of the year.

The city of West Des Moines held a Black History Month event, the “Double V Campaign” celebrating Blacks in the armed forces, on the last day of the month-long celebration.

Al Womble, chair of the Iowa Democratic Black Caucus, led the presentation about Blacks’ efforts to fight in the U.S. military during a time of segregation and the fight for civil rights upon their return. A panel of community leaders discussed their military service.

The “Double V Campaign” stood for victory abroad, victory at home. According to the documentary, “The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords,” James Thompson, a cafeteria worker from Kansas who wrote a letter during WWII to the Pittsburgh Courier, a famed Black newspaper, is credited with the idea behind “double victory.”

From left: Audrey Kennis, directory of diversity, equity and inclusion, city of West Des Moines; Gregory Allen; Shad Clayton; Mary Wells, Polk County Treasurer; Warren Page; Al Womble and West Des Moines Mayor Russ Trimble. Photo by Shimae Obie.

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