Uses the historical role of blacks in the military to explore their struggle for racial equality on and off the battlefield.
This overview explores the use of black people, either through coercion or enticement, in the armed forces of predominantly white societies in times of crisis when the supply of white soldiers was exhausted or when whites refused to fill the ranks of a wartime army. A chronological review, the study begins with references to Biblical armies and ends with the technological environment of the modern world, looking at how blacks were employed, exploited or rewarded for their service over the centuries. While the balance sheet is mixed, military institutions have proven to be leaders in integration and equality for blacks both in the United States and in Europe. Inequality still exists in the modern American military; however, the authors contend, it is more likely to be based upon educational disparities than on the color of a soldier's skin.
African American soldiers played a significant role in the creation and expansion of the United States. The authors write about conquistadors who utilized blacks as soldier slaves. They recount the stories of the black men who fought during the Revolutionary War. They detail the experience of the Buffalo Soldiers in securing and protecting the western wilderness and follow the black soldier fighting alongside Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. From the decks of the battleship ^IMaine^R to the Philippine Islands, from the hills of Vietnam and the deserts of the Middle East, and, finally, to the all-volunteer army, this book reveals the impact that black soldiers have made on American history.