During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), almost forty thousand men and women from fifty-two countries, including 2,800 Americans, traveled to Spain to join the International Brigades to help fight fascism. The U.S. volunteers served in various units (medical, combat, and transportation) and came to be known collectively as the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
As William L. Katz explains in The Lincoln Brigade: A Picture History,
Most Lincolns were activists and idealists who had worked with and demonstrated for the homeless and unemployed during the Great Depression. They were poets and blue-collar workers, professors and students, seamen and journalists, lawyers and painters, Christians and Jews, Blacks and whites. The Brigade was the first fully integrated United States army, and Oliver Law, an African American from Texas, was an early Lincoln commander.
The Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA) is an educational non-profit dedicated to providing resources and programs on the history and legacy of the Brigades.
The programs include teacher institutes, exhibitions, publications, cultural programs and an annual award for human rights activism, given in partnership with the Puffin Foundation.
Drawing on the ALBA archival collections in New York University’s Tamiment Library, ALBA works to preserve the legacy of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade as an inspiration for present and future generations.