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US Army overseas cap

US Army overseas cap

This United States Army overseas cap was worn in France by by Tela Burt, an African-American Minnesotan, during World War I. Burt served as a supply sergeant with the 809th Regiment of Pioneer Infantry, a segregated unit serving alongside French troops.

Burt moved to Minnesota from North Carolina in 1912 and became a theater manager. After the war, he returned to Minneapolis and started a career with the post office. He also studied music at MacPhail School of Music and led several dance bands in the 1920s and 1930s. Later in life he became a real estate agent, one of the first African Americans in the area to do so. He died at age 104 in 1995.