Term Paper: African-Americans in the U.S. Armed

Pages: 7 (2268 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 10  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Military  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] S. War efforts in virtually every major military campaign in which this country embarked upon, and despite the fundamental contributions to labor that African-Americans had made to the establishment of the U.S., and despite the fact that slavery was now outlawed, the sentiments of prejudice and bigotry that had manifested itself in the most dangerous period for African-Americans the epoch between Reconstruction and the Civil Rights movement in which segregation, murder, and mistreatment of African-Americans was extreme high still were rampant throughout the military service. African-American involvement in the military was extremely circumscribed following the Civil War, and was reduced to "six Regular Army regiments of black troops with white officers" (Bryan). Regular military clashes with Native Americans and the escalation of the Spanish American War did not change the fact that prior to World War I, African-Americans were regularly excluded from the U.S. Military as much as they were from other parts of life in America.

The "Great War" (National Archives) would change that fact, and see the rates of African-American enlistment swell in order to help the country which "quickly realized that the standing army of 126,000 men would not be enough to ensure victory overseas" (Bryan). The previous quotas for African-American involvement in the military were abandoned and a fundamental change to the draft was made in which all men from 21 to 31 years of age were required to register with the military -- regardless of race. Although the usage of African-Americans in both World Wars was still restricted to menial positions and limited action in combat, it is noteworthy to mention that there were a number of African-Americans who operated in African-American regiments who did see combat during both of these conflicts. Still, the pivotal turning point in race relations -- at least as it pertains to the U.S. military, occurred due to the change in drafting policy created during World War I. The Civil Rights movement of the late 1950's and 1960's helped to guarantee civil rights for African-American civilians and for soldiers as well as integration (Kuryla 10). It is essential to state that this movement and the benefits gained through only assisted in this process, because there are still many people who can argue (with convincing evidence in the form of murders and brutality regularly enacted against African-Americans) that full civil or even human rights has not been attained by these people. Still, the aforementioned civil rights movement was influential in paving the way for much more equality in the treatment and management of African-American soldiers, which has been manifest in virtually all of the martial encounters the U.S. has endured since this epoch. African-American soldiers were extremely active in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, as well as in the current war on terror. They hold ranking positions in the U.S. military, which is now a viable career opportunity for many African-Americans.

A brief recap of the involvement of African-Americans within the U.S. military indicates that they deserve just as much, if not more egalitarian treatment and civil rights than other races. They helped to fight for the U.S. military ever since its inception -- regardless of whether they were enslaved or not. Their participation was crucial to the success of many wars, as was their labor in erecting this nation. Moreover, their contributions were made under extreme duress and in spite of the blatant racism they encountered. As such, these people certainly deserve the same civil rights as every other man, in a land in which their unarmed youth -- Trayvon Martin -- are still wantonly murdered (Younge 20).

Works Cited

Bryan, Jami. "Fighting for Respect: African-American Soldiers in WWI." www.militaryhistoryonline.com. 2003. Web. http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/articles/blacksMilitary/BlacksMilitary1812.htm

Kuryla, Peter. "Ralph Ellison, Irving Howe, and the Imagined Civil Rights Movement." Society. 50 (1): 10-15. 2013. Print.

National Archives. "Teaching With Documents." www.archives.gov. 2010. Web. http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/369th-infantry/

National Park Service. "Stories From The Revolution." www.nps.gov. 2008. Web. http://www.nps.gov/revwar/about_the_revolution/african_americans.html

New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs. "The War of 1812." New York State Military Museum. 2006. Web. http://dmna.ny.gov/historic/articles/blacksMilitary/BlacksMilitary1812.htm

Selig, Robert. "The Revolution's Black Soldiers." www.americanrevolution.org. No date. Web. http://www.americanrevolution.org/blk.html

Wells, Erika. "Exhibit Showcases African-American Civil War Troops." The Journal. 2014. Web. http://www.journal-news.net/page/content.detail/id/604249/Exhibit-showcases-African-American-Civil-War-troops.html?nav=5006

Younge, Gary. "America Dreaming." New Statesman. 142 (5171): 20-23. 2013. Print. [END OF PREVIEW]

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