Hyde County was eager to send black draftees to WWI

“Draft boards [during World War I] used their power to punish political opponents and reinforce existing power structures. This was especially true in the South, where white authorities used the draft against African-Americans. For instance, in Hyde County, for every white man sent into the army, the draft board sent three blacks, a figure twice their proportion of the overall population.

“The process was also blatantly corrupt. Some draft board members made small fortunes selling deferments and exemptions to otherwise draft-eligible single men. Graft by the chairman of the Pitt County board J.J. Laughinghouse became so egregious that federal officials forced his removal from office, although they maintained in public that he resigned due to health reasons.”

— From “The WWI draft bred anti-war feelings, discontent” by Leonard Lanier in the Elizabeth City Daily Advance (May 14)


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