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USOs are meant to serve and entertain soldiers and their families who are often placed away from home. Due to Joplin’s proximity to Camp Crowder in Neosho, Missouri a USO was commissioned in 1941. This, however, was unable to serve the influx of Black soldiers at Camp Crowder during 1942. To accommodate this new rising Black population an old building was redesigned to serve as the Negro USO and it opened in 1944. This became a safe haven for Black soldiers and their families who still faced extreme segregation on US soil. Soldiers in the area classified this Negro USO as the best that they had encountered. This, however, did not stop the original site from being closed once the influx of Black soldiers slowed. After a petition the location was reopened for a few months until the influx of soldiers ceased completely. The site where the Negro USO building was located is now a Commerce Bank.

Original Negro USO

5646 Carver Rd, Diamond, MO

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