Veterans Legacy Program: Pvt. Archie Hawkins

An African-American's experience during World War I


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Pvt. Archie Hawkins was a proud World War I Veteran.  He is one of thousands of African-Americans who served in the United States military during the war.  In honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I, the National Cemetery Administration is proud to share Hawkins’s Veterans Legacy and honor the contribution that he and so many other African-Americans made during that war.

Historic black and white photograph of Camp Joseph E. Johnston during World War I

Camp Joseph E. Johnston during World War I.

When the United States entered World War I, Hawkins was eager to serve. He registered for the draft twice despite being too young to do so.   The Army selected Hawkins for service in September 1918.  He joined a segregated African-American unit, Auxiliary Remount Depot No. 333, at Camp Joseph E. Johnston in Jacksonville, Florida. Though the unit never served overseas, they still worked in hazardous and unsanitary conditions.

Despite serving honorably, Hawkins and other African-American Veterans were still subject to social injustices when returning home after the war.  His hometown did not recognize his service in the same way that it did the service of white soldiers.  Nevertheless, Hawkins’s contribution to the war helped pave the way for the advancement of civil and political rights of all African-Americans.

Archie Hawkins's grave marker at Florida National Cemetery

Archie Hawkins’s grave marker located at Florida National Cemetery

Hawkins passed away on February 27, 1989 and was laid to rest at Florida National Cemetery.

In 2017, the Veterans Legacy Program partnered with the University of Central Florida to conduct research on Veterans buried at Florida National Cemetery.  Students wrote over 100 biographies for Veterans buried there, including Archie Hawkins.  The story of his life, service, and lasting legacy is now shared with the public.

The National Cemetery Administration launched the Veterans Legacy Program in May 2016, to engage educators, students, and the public with stories of Veterans.  This is just one of the ways that NCA is modernizing the way that we memorialize Veterans.  To learn more about the Veterans Legacy Program, visit https://www.cem.va.gov/legacy/

Please join us in recognizing the contribution and Veterans Legacy of Pvt. Archie Hawkins, and read the full biography here:

https://vlp.cah.ucf.edu/biographies/B103-0-975-F.html

Author

Kenneth Holliday

Ken Holliday is part of the Veterans Legacy Program at the National Cemetery Administration. He is also a proud Army Veteran, having served in the Infantry with deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Comments

  1. Cheryl Mosley    

    This is a great and well over due honor to these amazing Veterans.

  2. Marvin Glenn Brooks    

    All of it is too little , too late , it may make the prepartraitors of the injustice these Men induced feel better about themselves but it does nothing for me or the families of those men . We already know what they went through because of the everlasting effects on Black Americans” to this day ! White Americans did the deed so live with it because we have to ! If it is redption you all seek, you should go and talk to a priest , or maybe you should talk to God if your heart is in the right place .

  3. Derrick A. Miller    

    Your program and article are excellent, sir. I, like you, am an army vet, though I didn’t serve in combat. I just found out, at the age of 53, that I am a 3rd generation vet. My father was in the Navy in the 1960’s. That’s where I was born-in the navy. I later joined the Army. But, just recently I found out that my Great Grandfather- Louis Miller, served in the Army in WW1. This is information my father didn’t even know. I’m just wondering if there are more African Americans like myself, who don’t know their own family history. Keep up the good work, you are an inspiration to more people than you know.

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