Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography


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Except for the navy, this did not happen.


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Black soldiers received less pay and fewer bounties than their white counterparts, and were likelier to receive both harsh punishments and assignment to labor duties. Many former slaves also performed work traditionally done by soldiers, but without being accorded the uniforms , status, or perquisites of military service. Blacks served in segregated units, and contact with white units was controlled. With the exception of Louisiana in —63 and a few units near the end of the war, blacks served under white officers.

Most black units were demobilized later than their white counterparts, and none participated in the May Grand March down Pennsylvania Avenue that symbolized the achievements of the nation's citizen soldiers. Black soldiers, veterans, and families faced harassment and prejudice, yet their valor and sacrifice did much to change attitudes and official behavior.


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In and , the government equalized pay and started to commission black men as line officers. Black soldiers also played a visible role in the liberation of Charleston, Petersburg, and Richmond, and provided manpower and officers for reconstructed state militias. Black military and militia service contributed to black militancy during Reconstruction. Between and , conservative forces disarmed most black militia, contained the number of black troops, and curtailed access to command positions. Black troops were removed from the South and their service was limited to four segregated regiments in By the s, black sailors were refused promotions and increasingly assigned to service duties where Asians would later join and sometimes replace them.

Although the Army Reorganization Act of lacked racial prohibitions and twelve blacks entered West Point between and , army examiners rejected all black officer candidates, and black students were segregated and harassed at West Point. Only three graduated. When the army reorganized in , not one of the 1, regular army officer vacancies was initially filled by an African American. Only after protests were three black men appointed.

The need for troops and mass support as well as racially inclusive Selective Service legislation structured the employment of troops of color during both world wars. Indians were sometimes integrated into units, and civilian color lines were challenged, but military segregation remained the norm. However, black political pressure in the s set the stage for integration: for example, the first black general was appointed one month before the election, and in , Executive Order which prohibited racial discrimination in defense industries, opening up defense plant positions to individuals of color was issued to prevent a threatened protest march on Washington.

While racial segregation remained the policy, the need for infantry replacements led to the inclusion. Increasing civil rights activism, racial tensions within the armed forces, the inefficiencies of segregation, the continued need for manpower, and the challenge of combatting an ideologically antiracist USSR all propelled integration.

The army and navy experimented with integration in ; a executive order mandated equality of treatment; and in , Congress repealed the law that had mandated four segregated regiments. The armed forces were formally integrated in the s, but prejudice and passive resistance at both the staff and line levels persisted through the Vietnam War. This resistance along with civilian racial turmoil generated anger, violence, and support for peace and antiwar movements among some soldiers of color. Slow as it was, military integration proceeded faster than did civilian or even National Guard integration ten states excluded blacks as late as Organizational integration required leadership and command accountability.

Responding to civil rights investigations, the secretary of war in mandated command responsibility in civil rights matters. Following outbreaks of racial violence in , the army instituted a program to increase racial harmony, equality of opportunity, and the ability of the army to perform its mission. A black man, Clifford Alexander, was appointed secretary of war in , and Colin Powell , another African American, was named chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in The percentage of black senior noncommissioned officers rose from 14 percent in to 31 percent in , and the percentage of black commissioned officers rose from 3 percent in to 11 percent in Beginning in the s, the armed forces' military academies and command structure began—at last—to reflect the nation's diversity.

Samuel A. Stouffer , et al.

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James R. Morris J. MacGregor and Bernard C. Nalty, eds.

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Bernard C. MacGregor , Integration of the Armed Forces, — , James A. Thomas, ed. It began to seem unreasonable to protect slavery while blockading Southern commerce and destroying Southern production. As one Congressman put it, the slaves "cannot be neutral. As laborers, if not as soldiers, they will be allies of the rebels, or of the Union. In Lincoln expressed the fear that premature attempts at emancipation would mean the loss of the border states, and that "to lose Kentucky is nearly the same as to lose the whole game.

Lincoln then tried to persuade the border states to accept his plan of gradual, compensated emancipation and voluntary colonization, while warning them that stronger measures would be needed if the moderate approach was rejected.

Black mosaic : essays in Afro-American history and historiography

Only the District of Columbia accepted Lincoln's gradual plan, and Lincoln issued his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1 of In his letter to Hodges, Lincoln explained his belief that "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong … And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.

The Emancipation Proclamation, announced in September and The Radical Republicsn put intense political pressure on Lincoln to use emancipation as a weapon. The problem was that he needed first to shore up pro-Union support in key border states, especially Kentucky. Only after it was safe could he act, and then he needed a military victory first. Lincoln thrilled the anti-slavery forces by announcing the Emancipation Proclamation in September ; the official proclamation came on January 1, , and it had the effect of freeing most of the 4 million slaves.

It also greatly reduced the Confederacy's hope of getting aid from Britain or France. Lincoln's moderate approach succeeded in getting border states, War Democrats and emancipated slaves fighting on the same side for the Union. All abolished slavery on their own, except Kentucky. The great majority of the 4 million slaves were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, as Union armies moved South.

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To handle this problem Lincoln proposed the a constitutional amendment. The 13th amendment, passed by Congress in February and ratified by the states in December , finally freed the remaining 40, slaves in Kentucky. Booker T. Washington was the dominant political and educational leader of the African-American community He is most famous for his inspiring autobiography, Up from Slavery, his leadership of black conservative business and religious leaders, his founding of Tuskeegee Institute as a college for technical training, and his emphasis on self-help and education as the cure for poverty and the second class status of blacks in America.

In his "Atlanta Compromise" of Washington reluctantly accepted Jim Crow, segregation and disfranchisement in return for black freedom in economic, religious and cultural affairs.

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Washington was highly popular among top white leaders and most blacks, but his approach was attacked after as too conservative by W. The most dramatic demographic change came after , as most backs left the rural South—some for nearby southern cities, and most headed to large cities in the North and West.

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In the decade of the s 1. By there were very few back farmers left. Politically it was a movement from a white dominated rural South where few blacks could vote or speak out, to a pluralistic political environment where northern central cities were controlled by liberals and their allies in the labor unions. In blacks in Montgomery, Alabama undertook a boycott of the segregated city buses and chose a local pastor Martin Luther King as their leader, and Rosa Parks as a symbolic actor. Drawing on Gandhi 's teachings, King directed a nonviolent boycott designed both to end an injustice and to redeem his white adversaries through love.

Love, he said, not only avoided the internal violence of the spirit but also severed the external chain of hatred that only produced more hatred. Somebody, he argued, must be willing to break this chain so that "the beloved community" could be restored and true brotherhood could begin. In November , the boycotters had won a resounding moral victory when the United States Supreme Court nullified the Alabama laws that enforced segregated buses.

The Montgomery protest captured the imagination of the world over and marked the beginning of a southern black civil rights movement that rocked the Jim Crow South to its foundations. King, with extraordinary oratorical powers and rich religious imagery, emerged as the most inspiring new moral voice in civil rights.

Working through southern churches, the SCLC enlisted the religious black community in the freedom struggle by expanding "the Montgomery way" across the South. Seeking support for a voter registration initiative in the South, King appealed to Nixon to urge Republicans in Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act and to visit the South to express support for civil rights. Through and civil rights leaders pressured the John F. Kennedy administration to support a tough civil rights bill, seeking a sort of second Emancipation Proclamation that would employ federal power to wipe out segregation just as Lincoln's decree had abolished slavery.

Kennedy, basically conservative and unwilling to offend his base of Southern white voters, refused to act. Civil rights groups thereupon launched multiple mass demonstrations throughout the South. King and the SCLC staff would single out some notoriously segregated city with officials who tolerated violence; mobilize the local blacks with songs, Bible readings, and rousing oratory; and then lead them on protest marches conspicuous for their nonviolent spirit and moral purpose.

Then the marchers escalated their demands—even fill up the jails—until they brought about a moment of "creative tension," when white authorities would either agree to negotiate or resort to violence. If violence broke out it would humiliate the moderate whites and redouble national pressures from church and activists for federal intervention. So far there was no violence on the part of blacks, but they were growing more and more frustrated and angry, with militants like Malcolm X calling for more extreme measures.

Nonviolent confrontation failed politically in Albany, Georgia, in , where white authorities were equally nonviolent.

Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography
Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography
Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography
Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography
Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography
Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography
Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography
Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography Black mosaic: essays in Afro-American history and historiography

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