History of African Americans in the Segregated United States Military. From America's War for Independence to the Korean War

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A timely and authoritative text by an important scholar of African American Studies that gives a comprehensive and accessible account of the role of African Americans in the U.S. military history from the American Revolution to the Korean War.

A clear-eyed account of the blatant injustice and horrendous societal waste documented with painstaking research and ethical resolve to show the indomitable will and intent on the part of countless African Americans to uphold and protect a nation committed, at least on paper, to universal human rights.


“This is the work of a skilled and creative scholar looking at the history of black military service in the U.S….It is not simply a listing of people, battles, and dates, but a collective story of perseverance, heroism, frustration, and liberation that is part of the collective memories within African American communities through oral history, art, poetry, songs and written documented sources.”
-Prof. Omar H. Ali
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

“The book provides the academic community with a valuable synthesis of historical research…it places this history in the context of institutionalized racism, which is, in my view, its greatest achievement.”
-Prof. Colleen E. Kriger
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

“This important book makes clear, how systematic, intentional, and long-lived was the white racism that governed the participation of blacks in the military for the first two-hundred years of our nation’s history.”
-Prof. George Dimock,
University of North Caroling, Greensboro

Table of Contents

The Construction of the Myth of Inferiority
Icons of Oppression and Democracy: Jim Crow and Uncle Sam
CHAPTER ONE: The War for Independence
Crispus Attucks
Peter Salem and Salem Poor
The Restriction of African American Soldiers
The Ethiopian Regiment
“Colonel” Tye
Prince Whipple, Oliver Cromwell, and the Continental Army
The 1st Rhode Island Regiment
Thomas Carney and Ned Griffen and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse
CHAPTER TWO: The War of 1812 and the Enslaved Freedom Fighters

Defending the Great Lakes
Joseph Savary and the Battle of New Orleans
Slave Wars for Independence
Denmark Vesey
Nat Turner
John Brown: Militant Martyr for Black Freedom
CHAPTER THREE: The American Civil War

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass’s War
The Contraband
Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation
“Men of Color, To Arms”
The First black Union Soldiers
Captain Andre Cailloux and the 1st Louisiana native Guard Regiment
The 1st South Carolina Volunteer Infantry
African Americans in the Federal Navy
Captain Robert Smalls
The Massachusetts 54th and Forth Wagner
Early Massachusetts 54th Memorials
Sergeant William Carney
Sergeant Major Christian Abraham Fleetwood
Harriet Tubman: Union Spy
A Black Spy in the Confederate White House
The Fort Pillow Massacre
Battle of the Crater
A Black Colonel of a White Regiment
Black Artillery and Cavalry Regiments
Black Confederates: Myth or Reality
CHAPTER FOUR: The Indian Wars

Becoming Buffalo Soldiers
A Female Buffalo Soldier
Racism in the Ranks
Abuse by Heyl and Hooker
The 9th Cavalry
Sergeant Henry Johnson
The 10th Cavalry
The 24th and 25th infantry Regiments
Black Seminole Scouts
The First African American West Point Cadets
James Webster Smith
Henry Ossian Flipper
Johnson C. Whittaker
John Hanks Alexander
Charles Denton Young
BOOK TWO CHAPTER FIVE: The Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, and the Mexican Punitive Expedition

The 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps
Plessey v. Ferguson
“A Splendid Little War”
Las Guasimas
El Caney
San Juan Heights
The Treachery of Roosevelt
The Philippine-American War
Duty in California
Trouble at Brownsville
The Mexican Punitive Expedition

The Houston Mutiny
The Betrayal of Colonel Charles Young
The “Black Swallow of Death”
Getting into the Fight
Tragic Heroes: Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts
Harlem Hellfighters in Action
Trouble in the 92nd Division
The Artists and the War
Had Anything Changed in the Military and Black Home?

The War in Europe
The Red Ball Express
761st Tank battalion: The “Black Panthers”
A Prelude to Tuskegee: Willa Beatrice Brown
The Tuskegee Airmen
The “Triple Nickels”
Port Chicago
Decorated War Heroes
The War Effort at Home
African American Women in Military Service
The Court-martial of Lieutenant Jackie Robinson
The Ruination of Sergeant Joe Louis
Dr. Charles Drew and “Segregated Blood”
The Greatest Insult
“Has Anything Changed in This War?”
CHAPTER EIGHT: Executive Order 99781, The Korean War, and the Last of the Buffalo Soldiers

The Road to 9981
The Fahy Committee
Conflict in Korea
The Tuskegee Airmen Legacy Lives On
The Last Buffalo Soldier
Published Primary Sources
Newspapers and Periodicals
Secondary Sources
Internet Sources

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