John F. Pierce of Orlando, Florida, World War I Service Number 29958318, Company C of the 807th Pioneer Infantry served in the US Army from July 21, 1918 to July 1919. These static pieces of information are found on the World War I service card for Private Pierce. A thirty-two-year-old African American, Pierce came from the segregated community of Parramore in Orlando. Like other black communities across Florida and the South, Parramore's leaders encouraged young African American men to join the fight in World War I in the hope that evidence of honorable military service would improve black access to political and civil rights. Like many of the African Americans who were drafted from Florida, Pierce was shipped overseas as a part of the 807th Pioneer Infantry and served in France from September 4, 1918 to July 3, 1919. Although he was on the Western Front and was present at the battle of the Meuse-Argonne, the duties of Pierce and his fellow soldiers in the 807th, as well as those in other Pioneer Infantry regiments were limited to support and supply roles. Serving in segregated units, African American troops operated behind the front lines and were responsible for building roads, digging trench networks, and reburying the dead. After the Armistice on November 11, 1918, Pierce continued to serve. When his service ended in July 1919, he returned home to Parramore and the problematic race relations in the Orlando community and the rest of the nation at the war's end.

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