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Sources: Jerry Bailey, 785-532-5847, jbailey@k-state.edu;
and Pellom McDaniels, 816-235-1339, mcdanielsp@umkc.edu
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415, kmayes@k-state.edu

Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009

AFRICAN-AMERICAN CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GREAT WAR WILL BE FOCUS OF K-STATE EXHIBITION OPENING FEB. 2

MANHATTAN -- Few exhibitions about World War I take into account the contributions of the African-American "associated forces," according to Pellom McDaniels III, an assistant professor of history and American studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

So, with the support of Kansas State University, McDaniels became curator of one.

His exhibition "They Came to Fight" opens Monday, Feb. 2, in the Kemper Art Gallery on the first floor of the K-State Student Union. The show, which includes first-edition books, photo postcards and photo reproductions depicting the role of African-Americans in the World War I, will run through Feb. 19. The gallery is free and open to the public.

Exhibition sponsors include K-State's College of Education and its equity and access partnership and professional development schools, and the K-State Student Union Program Council.

McDaniels said the exhibition illustrates the often overlooked role of African-Americans who served as soldiers, administrators, officers and volunteers in the war effort.

"For African-American men, the war was an opportunity to claim their manhood and their citizenship," McDaniels said. "For African-Americans in general, it was a way for them to demonstrate their patriotism."

Ironically, those who defended America in the war faced segregation at home, yet African-Americans served with pride and dignity, McDaniels said. The exhibition also recognizes Kansas Citians who contributed to the war effort.

"I get new pictures and stories every day," McDaniels said. "This is just the beginning of this exhibit."

In conjunction with the exhibition, McDaniels also will present a lecture at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16, in the Union's Little Theater. The lecture is free and the public is invited. A reception, also open to the public, will follow in the Union's Kemper Art Gallery.

Besides teaching, McDaniels is on the board of directors of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City and is a former professional football player who played the Kansas City Chiefs and other teams.

More information about the exhibition is available at http://www.theycametofight.org