The National Selective Service Act became law in 1916, and in 1917 the U.S. was seeing its first instituted draft. The law simply said men aged 18 to 35 would be called on in the event of a draft. So when the draft began, African American men and white men were drafted together. Several predominantly African American units from the north were sent to the Jim Crow south to train, which created a lot of tension in the southern states.
Video produced by Sarah Pritchard, 2019 ETV Endowment Intern (Digital Media/Knowitall)