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Washington Smith Post 152, American Legion

American Legion, Washington Smith , Post 152, Keyser Click on the MEDIA ITEMS below for more information


Washington Smith Post 152, The American Legion, Keyser, West Virginia

World War II ended in 1945. And like their white counterparts, the black veterans of Mineral County, West Virginia were returning home. As with much of the nation in general, segregation, either by law or custom, existed in West Virginia and impacted just about every segment of society from schools and employment to churches and clubs. Keyser was no different. The black veterans here were unable to join the local American Legion.

It was a James Scott, a disabled veteran from Piedmont, West Virginia, who took the initiative in 1946 and with a membership petition of eighteen names received a temporary charter for a new American Legion post for black veterans. The first post officers were installed in 1947 with Alfred Mason, Post Commander; Albertus Rolls, Vice-Commander; Clifton E. Brooks, Post Adjutant; Harry S. Rideoutt, Finance Officer; Howard McGruder, Chaplain; Walter Bartlett, Historian; Roland Baker, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Harry Keys, Americanism Officer.

Washington Smith Post 152, The American Legion, received its permanent charter on March 18, 1948. The post is named for John Washington and Perry Mason Smith, two black men from Keyser who were killed while serving in World War I and World War II, respectively.

This photograph, taken about the time of the Post's founding, depicts, on the left, Clifton E. Brooks, the Post Adjutant, and on the right, Alfred Mason, 1st. Post Commander


Text: Clifton E. Brooks and Mineral County, West Virginia - Family Traits, Tracks, and Trails

Photograph provided by Clifton E. Brooks

Collection Location:
Allegany County, Maryland

African Americans, History; Allegany County (Md.), History.

Allegany County (Md.), 1890-2008

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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