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The work of documentary photographer Paul Thompson (dates unknown) appeared regularly throughout the 1910s and 1920s in newspapers, popular magazines, and art magazines. He ran a photography agency in the 1910s, employing other photographers and providing journalists, magazines, and newspapers with images from his photo archive. He travelled to Europe to document the First World War, and his images appear on American propaganda posters of the period.
Paul Thompson's "This is not a Nevinson: Negro Troopers marching up Fifth Avenue on the last lap of their journey from Paris to Harlem" in Playboy: A Portfolio of Art and Satire 2 (1919)
This image, printed in Egmont Arens's art periodical Playboy, marks an important event of the First World War and of African-American history. The 369th Regiment--known as "The Hellfighters of Harlem"--was one of the most highly decorated American regiments, and served the most days in combat of any American unit. They gained fame at home through newspaper reports of their actions and fame in France through their renowned band, which supposedly helped set off the jazz craze in Europe. When they left for the war as a National Guard unit, they had not been allowed to march with other Guardsmen through New York because they were Black. Their white commander, Colonel William Haywood, ensured that this would not happen upon their return. Arriving in February 1919, they were met by a crowd estimated at one million people, who cheered them as they marched up Fifth Avenue from Madison Square to Harlem. The title of the photograph takes a jab at the English artist C. R. W. Nevinson, the futurist turned war artist who visited New York in 1919 on a wave of celebrity, only to alienate himself by making condescending public statements about the state of American art.