Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia


Exhibition Gallery | January 16, 2018-November 9, 2018

True Sons of Freedom, a photographic exhibition at the Library of Virginia, explores the stories of Virginia's African American soldiers who served during World War I. More than just mementos for families and sweethearts, these portraits challenge the crude and demoralizing cultural products of an era that often reduced African Americans to stereotypes and denied them full participation as citizens of the United States. Reflecting the pride and determination of African American World War I servicemen, the images were submitted with the soldiers' responses to military service questionnaires created by the Virginia War History Commission as part of an effort to capture the scope of Virginians' participation in the Great War. The original photographs, reproduced in the gallery at nearly life-size dimensions, place visitors at eye level in front of the soldiers. The monumental scale allows viewers the opportunity to examine rich details not seen in the original photo postcards.

For more information about the traveling version of this exhibition, please contact Barbara C. Batson, exhibitions coordinator, at To view the current itenerary for this exhibit, please click here.

Check out the online version of the exhibit at