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Saint Xavier University library to host African-American photo exhibit

‘Respect: African-Americans in World War II’ opens April 16

Chicago (March 30, 2007) – Saint Xavier University’s Byrne Memorial Library and the Department of Campus Life are hosting a photo exhibit, titled “Respect: African-Americans in World War II,” April 16 to 30, in the Byrne Memorial Library, located in the Warde Academic Center at 3700 W.103rd St., Chicago.

The historical exhibit, on loan from the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, includes photographs covering a diverse range of service personnel and locations, including the 92nd Infantry “Buffalo” Division in training in Alabama and in combat in Italy; African-American women in the Women Auxiliary Army Corps; the Army Air Corps School in Tuskegee, Ala.; and the first African-Americans in the Marine Corps in action in the Pacific.

From the Civil War through the Second World War, African-Americans served their country in segregated military units. Sixty years ago, President Harry Truman began the process of integrating the military, based mainly on the excellent combat record of African-Americans in World War II.  

“The core Saint Xavier value of respect moves us to understand the gifts and unique contributions of every person,” said Saint Xavier Library Director Mark Vargas. “This is an excellent opportunity to examine a unique piece of our history.”

During the war, more than 2.5 million African-American men and women served in all branches of the armed services. Despite extensive discrimination and segregation, they met the challenge, persevered, and served with distinction and honor.  African-American airmen, Marines, sailors and soldiers were involved in combat operations in Europe and the Pacific. In addition, African-American support of war efforts from the home front was instrumental to the success of Allied forces throughout the world.

SXU Librarian James P. Kusik coordinated with the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History to bring the exhibit to campus. For more information, contact Kusik at (773) 298-3360 or at kusik@sxu.edu.

Exhibit hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 7 p.m.; and Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m.


Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.