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Black veteran honored for war bond sales

January
11
1945

On this day in 1945, Hugh McElroy, decorated black veteran, was honored by Henry Morganthau Jr., United States secretary of the treasury, for participating in bond drives as a speaker and poster model. McElroy was reportedly the first African American whose picture appeared as an advertisement for United States war bonds. McElroy was born in Kentucky in 1884. In 1898 he lied about his age and enlisted in the Tenth United States Cavalry. He served in Cuba in the Spanish-American War and afterwards in the Philippine Insurrection and on the Pershing expedition into Mexico. During World War I he landed in France with the 317th Engineers. The much-decorated veteran retired in 1927 to Houston. In 1968 he and his oldest son rescued two children from a burning house near his Houston home. The Texas Senate commended the McElroys for their bravery. McElroy died in 1971.

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