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William H. Johnson

Station Stop, Red Cross Ambulance
about 1942
tempera and pen and ink
18 3/4 x 22 3/8 in., irregular
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the Harmon Foundation

This scene demonstrates a committed black presence in World War II, both on the battlefield and in public service. It also demonstrates the U.S. military’s racist policies at that time, namely the segregation of black enlisted men and health care professionals from their white counterparts. Johnson even alludes to the policy of separating "Negro" blood from "white" blood, transforming the scene into a subtle commentary on racism in the public-health sector.