African Americans have long used the military for gaining legitimacy and the ultimate path to citizenship. Blacks in the Military and Beyond chronicles their tumultuous journey from slavery through the present, extending the history to significant factors in determining whether or not serving in the military has indeed advantaged Blacks.
For much of the nation's history, the participation of blacks in the armed forces was approximately in line with their proportion in the total population. This changed during the 1970s: by 1980 one of every three Army Gls and one of every five marines were black. The reaction has been mixed. Many Americans look with approval on the growth of black participation in military service, since it often affords young blacks educational, social, and financial opportunities that constitute a bridge to a better life not otherwise available to them. But for other Americans, the opportunities are outweighed by the disproportionate imposition of the burden of defense on a segment of the population that has not enjoyed a fair share of the benefits that society confers. From this perspective, the likelihood that blacks would suffer at least a third-and perhaps a half-of the combat fatalities in the initial stages of conflict is considered immoral, unethical, or otherwise contrary to the precepts of democratic institutions. Some also worry that military forces with such a high fraction of blacks entail risks to U.S. national security. A socially unrepresentative force, it is argued, may lack the cohesion considered vital to combat effectiveness. Others fear that such a force would be unreliable if it were deployed in situations that would test the allegiance of its minority members. And some have even expressed concern that a large proportion of blacks may raise questions about the status of U.S fighting forces, as judged by the American public, the nation's allies, and its adversaries. The authors of this book examine evidence on both sides of the issue in an effort to bring objective scrutiny to bear on questions that for many years have been loaded with emotion and subjective reaction. They also discuss the implications for the military's racial composition of demographic, economic, and technological trends and the possible effects of returning to some form of conscription.
Publisher: Malabar, Fla. : Krieger Publishing Company
Designed as a small, easily read text for undergraduates, this book deals with the black soldier, from the use of slaves in the military units of the Spanish Conquistadores and the English and Dutch colonists in the seventeenth century, to the induction of General Colin Powell as head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the fall of 1989. The work focuses on a number of themes including the irony of the black soldier fighting for the American concepts of freedom and liberty on the field of battle and not free himself from the racial abuses of the American social system. Intended as a supplemental reading, this book is ideal for military history courses, black history courses, or even United States survey courses.
This important work by the Army recognizes and highlights the contributions of African Americans to the military history of the United States. This is accomplished by providing a historic context on the African American military experience for use by Department of Defense (DoD) cultural resource managers. Managers can use this historic context, to recognize significant sites, buildings, and objects on DoD property related to African American military history by nominating them for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. In this manner, civilian and military personnel currently serving in all major services will be made aware of the contributions of African Americans to our military heritage. While the focus of this work is on all-black military units, significant individuals will be recognized also. Chapter 1 - Introduction * By Steven D. Smith * Background * Objective * Historic Context Research Design * Project Scope * Methods * Report Organization * Summary * Chapter 2 - African American Soldiers Before the Civil War * By Elizabeth Arnett Fields * Early Colonial Conflicts * Service in Non-English Colonies * American Revolution * Blacks in the Armed Forces, 1783-1812 * War of 1812 * Black Soldiers in the Antebellum Period * Summary * Chapter 3 - African Americans in the Civil War * By Keith Krawczynski and Steven D. Smith * Introduction * Northern Attitudes Toward Arming the Black Man * Service in the Union Navy * Blacks in the Confederate Army * Blacks in the Union Army * Confederate Response to the Union Enlistment of African Americans * Black Soldiers Life and Labor * The Martial Spirit * Summary * Chapter 4 - The West 1865-1897 * By Elizabeth Arnett Fields * Introduction * The Creation of Black Regiments * Origin of the Term "Buffalo Soldier" * Cavalry Regiments * Infantry Regiments * Seminole Negro-Indian Scouts * Service in Other Branches of the Army * First Black Cadets at West Point * Problems Faced by the Black Troops In the West * Qualities of the Buffalo Soldiers * Summary * Chapter 5 - The Spanish American War and Aftermath * By Keith Krawczynski * Spanish American War * African American Attitudes Towards War with Spain * Black Regular Army Cavalry and Infantry Units * State Volunteer Units In the War * Immune Regiments * The Philippines * Reactions to Increased Racial Discrimination * Punitive Expedition * African Americans in the National Guard * Naval Service, 1865-1917 * Summary * Chapter 6 - World War I * By Keith Krawczynski * Declaration of War * African American Call to Arms * Recruitment * Appeasement of African Americans * Creation of Black Units * Demands for African American Officers * Training in the United States * Labor Battalions Overseas * Combat in France * Postwar 1918-1940 * Summary * Chapter 7 - African American Navy, Marine, Women's Reserves, and Coast Guard Service During World War II * By Keith Krawczynski * Introduction * Dorie Miller * U.S. Navy * Marine Corps * Coast Guard * Merchant Marine * Women's Reserve Corps * Summary * Chapter 8 - African Americans in the U.S. Army During World War II * By Robert F. Jefferson * Introduction * Quotas: Linkages of Black Intelligence and Combat Efficiency and Discrimination, 1920-1941 * Black Response to War and War Department Intransigence * The Stateside Employment and Training of Black Personnel and Units at Regular Army Facilities: 1941-1944 * Race, Labor, and War: The Employment of Black Troops in the African, Pacific, and European Theaters * Summary * Chapter 9 - Victory and Context: Recognition of African American Contributions to American Military History * By Steven D. Smith, Keith Krawczynski, and Robert F. Jefferson * The Integration of the Armed Forces 1946-1954 * Historic Context: Themes and Sites * Installation Survey * Summary
Equality or Discrimination? strives to close the gap in existing literature and address the often-neglected field of research on the discrimination of African Americans in the U.S. Armed Forces during the Vietnam War. Despite the awakened interest of academics, authors, artists, and experts from a multitude of fields and the vast selection of literature on the Vietnam War and its veterans, African Americans have received little attention until now. Based on initial findings, Dr. Kimbrough analyzes key issues including whether or not African Americans experienced racial discrimination while serving. The study also focuses on whether the Vietnam War was indeed the first fully integrated conflict in which the U.S. attempted to engage in militarily without racial division. The findings contradict the traditional image of equality in the U.S. Armed Forces and provide the basis for the dissertation. Proving that soldiers in the Vietnam War were NOT treated equally, Dr. Kimbrough argues that African Americans experienced various forms of discrimination during a tumultuous time in U.S. history in which the opposite treatment of its soldiers was required.
Guide to records of the Air Force, Army, Navy (including the Marine Corps) and Department of Defense relating to African Americans in the armed forces, from 1915 to 1950, with some records as late as 1964.
In this book James E. Westheider explores the social and professional paradoxes facing African-American soldiers in Vietnam. Service in the military started as a demonstration of the merits of integration as blacks competed with whites on a near equal basis for the first time. Military service, especially service in Vietnam, helped shape modern black culture and fostered a sense of black solidarity in the Armed Forces. But as the war progressed, racial violence became a major problem for the Armed Forces as they failed to keep pace with the sweeping changes in civilian society. Despite the boasts of the Department of Defense, personal and institutional racism remained endemic to the system. Westheider tells this story expertly and accessibly by providing the history and background of African American participation in the U.S. Armed Forces then following all the way through to the experience of African Americans returning home from the Vietnam war.