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Torchbearers of Democracy by
Publication Date: 2010-09-20
For the 380,000 African American soldiers who fought in World War I, Woodrow Wilson's charge to make the world "safe for democracy" carried life-or-death meaning. Chad L. Williams reveals the central role of African American soldiers in the global conflict and how they, along with race activists and ordinary citizens, committed to fighting for democracy at home and beyond. Using a diverse range of sources, Torchbearers of Democracy reclaims the legacy of African American soldiers and veterans and connects their history to issues such as the obligations of citizenship, combat and labor, diaspora and internationalism, homecoming and racial violence, "New Negro" militancy, and African American memories of the war.
For Their Own Cause by
Publication Date: 2016-10-25
The 27th United States Colored Troops (USCT), composed largely of free black Ohio men, served in the Union army from April 1864 to September 1865 in Virginia and North Carolina. It was the first time most members of the unit had traveled so far from home. The men faced daily battles against racism and against inferior treatment, training, and supplies. They suffered from the physical difficulties of military life, the horrors of warfare, and homesickness and worried about loved ones left at home without financial support. Yet their contributions provided a tool that allowed blacks with little military experience, and their families, to demand social acceptance and acknowledgment of their citizenship. Their service did not end when their enlistment was over. After the men of the 27th returned to Ohio, they and their families sought full access to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments and compensatory citizenship rights for their collective sacrifice. Despite their constant battle against racism, this public behavior benefited the men and their families. It also meant that the African American role in the Union victory remained part of local community remembrance and commemoration. As a result, the experiences of these men from the 27th USCT gave the late-nineteenth-century Ohio black community legitimate hopes for access to equal civil and social rights for all. For Their Own Cause is the first comprehensive history of the 27th USCT. By including rich details culled from private letters and pension files, Mezurek provides more than a typical regimental study; she demonstrates that the lives of the men of the 27th USCT help to explain why in the wars that followed, despite the disappointments and increasingly difficult struggle for African American equality that continued for far too many decades after the promise of the three Civil War-era constitutional amendments, blacks in the United States continued to offer their martial support in the front lines and the back.
Sacrificing Soldiers on the National Mall by
Publication Date: 2013-03-22
For the city's first two hundred years, the story told at Washington DC's symbolic center, the National Mall, was about triumphant American leaders. Since 1982, when the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated, the narrative has shifted to emphasize the memory of American wars. In the last thirty years, five significant war memorials have been built on, or very nearly on, the Mall. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Women in Military Service for America Memorial, The National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During WWII, and the National World War II Memorial have not only transformed the physical space of the Mall but have also dramatically rewritten ideas about U.S. nationalism expressed there. In Sacrificing Soldiers on the National Mall, Kristin Ann Hass examines this war memorial boom, the debates about war and race and gender and patriotism that shaped the memorials, and the new narratives about the nature of American citizenship that they spawned. Sacrificing Soldiers on the National Mall explores the meanings we have made in exchange for the lives of our soldiers and asks if we have made good on our enormous responsibility to them.
The Marines of Montford Point by
Publication Date: 2009-11-05
With an executive order from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, the United States Marine Corps--the last all-white branch of the U.S. military--was forced to begin recruiting and enlisting African Americans. The first black recruits received basic training at the segregated Camp Montford Point, adjacent to Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, North Carolina. Between 1942 and 1949 (when the base was closed as a result of President Truman's 1948 order fully desegregating all military forces) more than 20,000 men trained at Montford Point, most of them going on to serve in the Pacific Theatre in World War II as members of support units. This book, in conjunction with the documentary film of the same name, tells the story of these Marines for the first time. Drawing from interviews with 60 veterans, The Marines of Montford Point relates the experiences of these pioneers in their own words. From their stories, we learn about their reasons for enlisting; their arrival at Montford Point and the training they received there; their lives in a segregated military and in the Jim Crow South; their experiences of combat and service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam; and their legacy. The Marines speak with flashes of anger and humor, sometimes with sorrow, sometimes with great wisdom, and always with a pride fostered by incredible accomplishment in the face of adversity. This book serves to recognize and to honor the men who desegregated the Marine Corps and loyally served their country in three major wars.
Freedom Journey by
Publication Date: 2015-01-31
The story of thirty-six African American men who drew upon their shared community of The Hills for support as they fought in the Civil War.
Fighting for Hope by
Publication Date: 2008-11-24
This fascinating history shows how African-American military men and women seized their dignity through barracks culture and community politics during and after World War II. Drawing on oral testimony, unpublished correspondence, archival records, memoirs, and diaries, Robert F. Jefferson explores the curious contradiction of war-effort idealism and entrenched discrimination through the experiences of the 93rd Infantry Division. Led by white officers and presumably unable to fight--and with the army taking great pains to regulate contact between black soldiers and local women--the division was largely relegated to support roles during the advance on the Philippines, seeing action only later in the war when U.S. officials found it unavoidable. Jefferson discusses racial policy within the War Department, examines the lives and morale of black GIs and their families, documents the debate over the deployment of black troops, and focuses on how the soldiers' wartime experiences reshaped their perspectives on race and citizenship in America. He finds in these men and their families incredible resilience in the face of racism at war and at home and shows how their hopes for the future provided a blueprint for America's postwar civil rights struggles. Integrating social history and civil rights movement studies, Fighting for Hope examines the ways in which political meaning and identity were reflected in the aspirations of these black GIs and their role in transforming the face of America.