Race and the Myth Surrounding the Military Service of Pedro Albizu Campos


in cOHERENT Thoughts

As with many other topics in Puerto Rican history, there is more myth than fact surrounding the service of nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos in the armed forces of the United States during the First World War. Here, I offer what we know as fact within the pertinent content while analyzing why he served and the effects of such service.

In 1917 Pedro Albizu Campos interrupted his studies at Harvard to volunteer for service during the First World War. Ernest Gruening wrote that he was assigned to a black regiment that trained in the southern United States, which taught Albizu Campos “what it was to be a Negro, not only in the army, but in America. All his love for America turned to hate.” (Maldonado, Luis Muñoz Marín, 139, citing Gruening, Many Battles: The Autobiography of Ernest Gruening, 196–97).

However, it seems that Albizu Campos never trained with…

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