Way Back When: A Heartfelt Welcome Home Reception

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Way Back When: A Heartfelt Welcome Home Reception
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(Image: Library of Congress)

By Betsy J Green

In April 1919, several celebrations were held in Santa Barbara to welcome and honor the soldiers returning from the war in Europe. One was held at the Masonic Hall which was then located at Haley and Canal (Olive) Streets. The local paper reported, “Rousing Reception for Colored Youths. The reception given by the colored folks of the city in honor of the three colored youths who went from here to the war, drew a large crowd to the African M.E. Church … where a very fine program was enjoyed.”

The three men told the crowd about fighting in the trenches, the welcome they received from the French people, and demonstrated gas masks. “There were other talks and lots of good music, the program throughout being of the best.”


Betsy's Way Back When book -- 1918 -- is now available in local bookstores and at Amazon.com. This is the fifth book in her series of the history of Santa Barbara, one year at a time. Learn more at betsyjgreen.com

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bjgreen Apr 14, 2019 06:32 PM
Way Back When: A Heartfelt Welcome Home Reception

African-American soldiers served in separate units during World War I. One of the most famous groups was known as the "Harlem Hellfighters" from New York City, many of whom were awarded the Legion of Merit.

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