Monday, September 9, 2019

Research the roles of African Americans in the military history of Essay

Research the roles of African Americans in the military history of World War I. How were African Americans recruited How were t - Essay Example This paper seeks to discuss African American soldiers’ role in the military history of the First World War, starting with the process of recruitment, moving along to their experiences in the armed forces, as well as in combat, and finally exploring the psychological impact it had on African Americans, in addition to their view of racial discrimination. 2.0 African Americans and Recruitment In the spring of 1917, The United States of America had to face a war of unsurpassed magnitude, requiring it to harness all its resources -- material, intellectual, and human. Hence, this was the mobilization of the colored people as a part of the country’s line of defense in the First World War (Williams 15). However, the path towards the fulfillment of their patriotic duty was not paved clear. Opposition in the person of members of the senate and southern democrats existed (Orr 90). The aforementioned officials resisted the idea of including African American draftees in the armed fo rces of the United States. Senator James K. Vardaman was adamant in his idea that millions of armed colored men served only as an unparalleled peril to the South (Ellis 11). However, because of black leaders’ efforts, 367,710 blacks were drafted (Orr 90). These African American draftees consisted of a variety of professions from common workers and farmers to physicians and attorneys. They were issued drafts on the months of June and September, and were ordered to join the 1,200 enlistees in Fort Dodge, Des Moines, Iowa in a Colored Officers Training Camp, regardless if they were willing to do so or not (Lentz-Smith 41). The aforementioned training camp was made possible through the resoluteness of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in pushing for the setting up of a training school for African American officers (Orr 91). 2.1 African Americans in the Armed Forces and in Combat African Americans’ participation in military defense was a n unheard of concept even if it was in service to America (Lentz-Smith 21). Majority of white people greatly opposed this on the premise that colored people could not be capable soldiers (Williams 2). Some even went so far as to consider the colored man as more like a farm animal such as a horse instead of a man; an example was Ely Green who decided to enlist in the war upon hearing that very discriminating statement from white farmers (Lentz- Smith 38). Even with their entry to the armed forces, African Americans experienced the said discrimination. 200, 000 of those black soldiers were relegated to the American Expeditionary Force and were assigned labor functions -- something as menial as digging up trenches (Roberts and Tucker 2318). Hence, the reality of shouldering shovels in place of guns (Williams 2). The Navy further highlighted this by only including black men as mess boys or attendants. However, no such emphasis compared to the Marines’ complete rejection of them ( Roberts and Tucker 2318). Racial discrimination was underlined in what is now known as the Battle of Anniston. The soldiers of the Third Alabama Colored Infantry experienced such blatant discrimination as they were driven back to camp by white military men and civilians when they went out on their first night there. They endured this

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