2.2.12

American Black History in Iran








Photos above are of African Americans stationed in Iran during WWII in the Gulf Command. These were the inspiration for a series of small studies, shown at the bottom.  For a little history, the Persian Gulf Command was a US service command established in December 1943 to assure the supply of U.S.  war material into the Soviet Union. It subsequently came under the command of a succession of engineer generals. Following the War Department’s full militarization of construction, the Iranian District ceased to exist in May 1943. I have asked a older family relative, who would have been a little boy during this time, if he remembers seeing Black US soldiers, and was informed that he did remember seeing some, and that at the time they were viewed with a mystic as "cultural representatives" of the United States. Certainly, like other places in the world, there were no Black segregation laws in Iran, and while there have always been Africans in Iran, this influx of African Americans within the Gulf Command would have been a first.  It would be interesting to find any material based on their experiences. 

The Gulf Command Patch, is a design I assume from within the US armed forces,  which includes a red scimitar, from the flag of Iran (or Persia) of the ancient Persians. The white seven pointed star is taken from the flag of the Kingdom of Iraq representing purity and religion of the Middle East, and the green color of the shield denotes the agriculture of Persia, and Islam. Green being the choice colour of reference.