While all women in the United States Armed Forces share a history of discrimination based on gender, women of color have faced barriers of gender, race and traditional cultural values in their pursuit of opportunity for service in the armed forces. Through persistent efforts in demanding inclusion for their right to serve, women of color have seen their roles across society and all sectors tremendously expanded, including their presence in today’s military.
Born during a time when our country seeks healing amid persistent calls to dismantle systemic racism, this exhibit seeks to highlight the diversity of women of color in the nation’s defense. Across the decades and for all the challenges, women of color still found meaning and value in serving in uniform despite the military’s shortcomings and history of systemic discrimination on multiple fronts—from race, gender, ethnicity and national origin, to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Experience the Exhibit
Visit the Military Women's Memorial
Memorial entrance is free. Join us to experience not only this exhibit but the many exhibits and displays that tell the stories of servicewomen throughout American history.
The “Color of Freedom” can be explored virtually! Visit the virtual exhibit to learn about some of the many women of color who continue to pave the way for equality.
Download Free Educational Resources
We have crafted a custom lesson plan for educators to utilize in the classroom. And Still, They Served: Black Servicewomen in World War II examines the critical roles that Black servicewomen played in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.
Experience the “Color of Freedom” at world-class museums, campuses, and community spaces all around the country.
Digital Press Kit
View press releases, news coverage, and download resources such as graphics, logos, and other digital assets.
Make a Donation
Your contributions make exhibits like the “Color of Freedom” possible. Help us continue our mission of preserving the history of women who have served our country.
“Instead of sitting around talking about it, they got off their tail bone and made things happen.“
– Michele Jones, retired Command Sgt. Maj.
Plan your visit
The Military Women’s Memorial is the leading memorial and education center honoring women’s contributions to the service of our nation.
As of February 2018, women of color represented nearly 61 percent of enlisted women in the U.S. Armed Forces and about 38 percent of women officers. The “Color of Freedom” highlights stories from some of the many women of color who have served within and alongside the U.S. Armed Forces. This showcase can be experienced alongside the many exhibits on display at the Military Women’s Memorial.
In addition to an exhibition installed at the Military Women’s Memorial, The “Color of Freedom: Honoring the Diversity of America’s Servicewomen” will be temporarily showcased at various locations across the U.S.
The interactive display includes the stories of various servicewomen of color and brings to light the impact that these women made while serving in various branches of the U.S. military.
Virginia Tour sites made possible by Virginia Humanities
- Feb 8 – Mar 16 | Virginia Tech Newman Library
560 Drillfield Drive, Blacksburg, VA 24061
- Apr 15 – May 17 | Virginia Military Institute Preston Library
411 Letcher Avenue, Lexington, VA 24450
- May 25 – June 28 | Virginia War Memorial
621 S. Belvidere Street, Richmond, VA 23220
- August 21 – September 10 | Old Dominion University
5115 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23529
- (2023) Jan 5 – Feb 28 | US Army Women’s Museum
2100 A Avenue, Bldg. 5219, Fort Lee, VA 23801
National Tour sites made possible by Amazon Military, Iron Mountain, and Fluor
- Mar 8 – Mar 31 | USS Midway Museum
910 N Harbor Drive, San Diego, CA 92101
- Apr 13 – April 25 | PGCMLS Oxon Hill Library
6200 Oxon Hill Road, Oxon Hill, MD 20745
- Apr 25 – May 9 | PGCMLS Laurel Library
507 7th Street, Laurel, MD 20707
- May 11 – May 23 | PGCMLS Largo-Kettering Library
9601 Capital Lane, Largo, MD 20774
- June 10 – July 15 | Buffalo Soldiers National Museum
3816 Caroline Street, Houston, TX 77004
- July 16 – September 16 | Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center
2002 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030
- San Antonio, TX TBD
Additional tour dates to come.
Experience the Virtual Exhibit
In addition to the physical exhibit, you can learn more about the women honored in the “Color of Freedom” with our digital exhibit.
Programs & Events
Staying true to our mission, programming explores the lived experiences of women veterans throughout American history.
Enjoy a new program each month, where women veterans share their stories in video chats with MWM President Phyllis Wilson. Throughout the run of The Color of Freedom exhibition, we will be spotlighting stories of servicewomen of color.
View the Full Event Calendar
And Still, They Served: Black Servicewomen in World War II examines the critical roles that Black servicewomen play in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. This lesson plan has been designed for grades 6-12 and meets Standards of Learning with Common Core, Commonwealth of Virignia and National Council for the Social Studies Standards.
There is an accompanying Resource Packet which includes suggested activities and worksheets for further exploration and examination. To assist with teaching this lesson plan, there are three versions of a presentation for use: digital presentation, presentation for print and a Power Point Presentation.
What People Are Saying
“Thank you…for remembering and honoring the service of these brave women of color.”
“Thank you for telling an American Story … They have always been our teammates & we must consider ourselves fortunate to serve alongside them.”
“I urge you to come and see. For women of color: This is for us.”
“This exhibit honors so many incredible women who faced significant barriers but persevered and served our country with honor and distinction.”
This exhibit was made possible with the generous support of the following organizations. Learn more about how you too can support our mission here.
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