On the very first day of America's participation in World War II, an African American sailor at Pearl Harbor named Dorrie Miller shot down four enemy planes and saved 12 men from drowning. One would think that this would make the gang on capitol Hill sit up and realize that the war would be shorter if other men of a similar hue could be released upon our enemies, but this was not the case. Very few American blacks were permitted to fight and this article serves as a testimony to their frustration.
Here is a small notice concerning the Office of War Information and the steps they took during the Summer of 1942 to ensure the patriotic enthusiasm of the African-American community in the war effort:
"Two well-known Negro newspapermen have been selected to supervise the gathering and issuance of Negro news. The head of the new division - still untitled - will be Ted Poston, former New York newspaperman. He will be assisted by [filmmaker] William D. Alexander [who will make newsreels]."
Civil Rights leader Walter White (1893 - 1955) recognized an historic moment when he saw one: during the summer of 1944 he wrote about the first African-American general - Benjamin O. Davis (1912 - 2002; West Point '36):
"He had endured snubs because of his color and seen less able men promoted over his head without complaint. Some soldiers of his own race charge that he is not as militant as they think he should be in redressing their grievances. Non of this disturbs him."
"Should I sacrifice my life to live half American?’ Will things be better for the next generation [of colored Americans] in the peace to follow? ‘Would it be demanding too much to demand full citizenship rights in ex- change for the sacrificing of my life?"
- from Amazon:
Wishing to avoid some of the taint of racism that characterized the American military during the First World war, Republican Senator William Barbour (1888 - 1943) announced that he intended to introduce an amendment to the 1940 conscription legislation that would open all branches of the U.S. Military to everyone regardless of skin color. The article goes on to list all the various branches that practiced racial discrimination.
Mess Attendant 2nd Class Dorie Miller had never handled a machine gun, yet he shot down four Japanese planes in twenty minutes, rescued the captain of the USS West Virginia and saved a dozen men from drowning.
Read about an African-American from the First World War...