Double Victory: From WWII to the AVF, African Americans and the U.S. Military


In a recent exchange between right wing town crier Bill O’Reilly and former Secretary of State and Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, Powell appeared irritated at O’Reilly’s insinuation that the former Secretary voted for Obama for racial reasons. “So you basically said to yourself I’m still going to support the guy even though his economic policies haven’t worked for African Americans and pretty much anyone else,” the host argued.   Though some have described Powell’s response as hostile or angry, to this viewer he seemed the same eternally calm presence he’s appeared to be since embedding himself in the national conscience in the early 1990s. “Why do you only see me as an African American, Bill? That troubles me. I’m an American,” Powell asserted.   The point here is not to assail Riley.  Though his problematic view of electoral politics ignores the fact that whatever Powell’s motivations, whites have voted according to their own racial logic from 1776 forward; we wouldn’t have talked about Obama convincing enough “white” voters to follow in him in 2008 and 2012 if this wasn’t true.   No, let David Letterman handle the periodic O’Reilly slap down.  Colin Powell the veteran is the issue.

“By fusing the imagery of the Declaration of Independence with the personages of the civil rights movement, by blending the black struggle with the identity of all Americans,” wrote military historians Charles Moskos and John Sibley Butler in 1996, “Powell opens up a new vista where our country’s Afro-American heritage and the totality of American history merge. This is one of the race lessons of the Army.”[1] For Moskos, Butler, and others, Powell represented the culmination of the Secretary’s own considerable gifts but also the Army’s system of managing “race,” or integration, that made it the envy of the private sector. Commitment to nondiscrimination, high standards for performance and an infrastructure of support – including education, training, and mentoring – that created “paths of opportunity”, many aspects of the modern Army the authors asserted, promised to improve race relations in America.[2]


Born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx by his middle class Jamaican immigrant parents, Powell followed the New York City success narrative, attending the city’s public schools and graduating from City College of New York in 1958.  As a member of the City College ROTC program the army commissioned Powell as a Second Lieutenant soon after graduation; forty one years later President George H.W. Bush appointed him Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  His Persian Gulf glory followed, as did his reputation-damaging turn as Secretary of State for President George W. Bush. Despite this formidable record of service to Republican administrations, Powell found himself defending his voting record to Bill O’Reilly to the point he that he reminded the host that he was an American first; like many Black veterans before him, Powell felt compelled to remind observers of his national devotion, a fact that would seem plainly obvious.

The role of the military in citizenship, civil rights, and race relations serves as a central theme of the Black veteran’s experience.   While African Americans have served in the American military since the revolution, especially with the 1973 shift to an All Volunteer Force which boosted black enlistment to levels disproportionate with national population totals, Black servicemen and women have shaped the Army’s culture and used their experiences as a means to claim greater political and economic equality, yet it remains a story largely in the shadows.

Even after the ambiguity of the Korean War and the failure of Vietnam, one could argue that with popular fare like Saving Private Ryan and Tom Brokaw’s fetishization of WWII, tropes about the uniqueness of the Greatest Generation continue to occupy a central place in popular memory. It might even still be dominant image of military service in the minds of many Americans. Of course, not everyone feeds on this narrative. “Despite their relative literacy and idealism, though, the Greatest Generation were a segregationist lot who unleashed the atomic bomb, the Holocaust, and the rape of Nanking – to name a few of their greatest hits,” reflected satirical writer Ian Svenonius recently.[3]  Indeed, images of the Greatest Generation often consist of white faces – even the recent PBS WWII documentary took heat, perhaps unfairly, for neglecting the contributions of Latino Americans.  However, over the past twenty years scholars have begun to explore issues of race and integration central to the nation and armed forces’ history.

Fighting the Korean War

Though African Americans no longer make up the nation’s largest minority group, for much of the nation’s existence they did.   Despite enduring discrimination within and without the armed services, African American leaders consistently supported black enlistment in both World Wars.  During WWI, over 380,000 African Americans enlisted though they found their service heavily limited by segregation – occupational and otherwise.  Of the 380,000 enlistees, the army assigned only 42,000 to combat units.  Only half of these soldiers saw actual combat and when they did, due to the U.S. military’s segregation policy, they served under French officers in France’s armed forces.[4]

The first question one might ask is “Why serve at all?” Clearly, citizenship policies by 1917 remained reserved for whites, native born ones at that.  Being Asian, Latino, or Black ensured, at best, second-class status. Ronald R. Krebs argues in his 2006 work, Fighting for Rights: Military Service and the Politics of Citizenship that WWII coincided with a shift in principles of national membership.  Prior to WWII, America employed a largely “racialized republicanism” that reserved the rights of citizenship for whites.  Even when Black leaders attempted to tap this form of membership for greater equality, they found themselves face to face with an imperialist America that trumpeted self-determination but only for whites and embraced a coarse social Darwinism.  Blacks could never be the “virtuous citizenry” that republicanism celebrated. “Racialized republicanism created rhetorical possibilities for white politicians, furnishing them with a sustainable counternarrative with which to parry African Americans’ appeals,” Krebs notes.  “Embedded in a racist popular culture, whites were predisposed to believe the worst about blacks’ capabilities, courage, and record, and thus the efforts of white military commanders to portray blacks as shirkers, cowards, and/or incompetents found a receptive audience.”[5]  In this context, calls by Black leaders for average African Americans to enlist fell upon more than a few deaf ears.  Significant segments of Black Americans believed WWI to be a “white man’s war” and resented the idea that they must fight abroad to get rights at home.   In spite of the residual disillusion from WWI, segregation and restrictive enlistment policies, during WWII, African Americans signed up for service in record numbers.  When asked if WWII had as much to do with their personal interests as anyone else’s,89% of white soldiers responded yes and 66% of Black servicemen stated the same.[6]

World War II further demonstrated the military’s internal racism. By 1945, over two and half million African Americans signed up for the military but the armed services accepted less than half: one million.  Segregation explains some of these rejections. All Black units rarely turned over and the lack of housing for African American recruits further limited new enlistees. However, in contrast to WWI, by WWII’s conclusion 650,000 African Americans served in the Army and 50,000 of those in some form of combat.[7]  In fact, though it remained committed to segregation, the need to mobilize troops for the Battle of the Bulge and other conflicts near the end of the war necessitated a relaxation of policy as more than 2000 Black troops participated in integrated combat units even if this integration remained incomplete.[8]


In Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II, Maggi M. Morehouse relates the stories of dozens of soldiers, nurses, and enlisted personnel from interviews discussing their wartime service.   Throughout men and women describe their experiences and in many cases, their awakening to the injustice of segregation.  Morehouses’ interviews reveal the diversity of opinion in the Black community and several interviewees admit the issue never dominated their thoughts until their military service.   In some instances, soldiers cared more about opportunity than integration. “Our prime objective was to make it into officer candidate school and not get busted out,” remembers Joe Stephenson. “So we didn’t really have any serious conversations about military policies at the time.”[9] Equality of assignments, fair enlistment and promotion policies mattered more to soldiers in the middle of the war. Even then, disagreement about integration existed. “Because of individual soldier’s background – including his degree of politicization before entering the army, his religious values, and most importantly his social position and experience – a diversity of opinions prevailed among Black Americans,” writes Morehouse.[10]

With the activation of two all Black infantry divisions by the army in 1942, the 93rd “Blue Helmets” and the 92nd “Buffalo Soldiers” came into being at Fort Huachuca, Arizona.  The rest of the divisions would be divided between four locations. Located 70 miles southeast of Tucson and 20 miles north of the Mexican town of Nogales, the fort’s remoteness made it useful for training Black troops, a situation that might cause alarm if white communities bordered the installation.  The troops came from all backgrounds. Veteran Fred Hurns described a diverse collection of personalities in his recollection of the Arizona fort:

“Some came with scars of shackles stamped into their eyes.  They came with college degrees and parole papers.  They came with pockets full of loaded dice.  They came damning America, her Jim Crow, and her lynch law.  They came cursing Hitler and the Fascists and eager to do battle for human rights.”[11]

An on-base building boom commenced as it tried to catch up with the thousands of soldiers stationed there and segregation meant all construction had to be duplicated.   The construction of a Black Officer’s Club drew negative reviews from the Black press but Morehouse notes that its existence at all was notable.  The club enabled Black officers to fraternize with one another.

Difficult conditions prevailed – poor housing, tough, unfamiliar weather all while the fort’s commanding officer expressed little regard for his African American troops.   Morehouse’s interviewees relate stories of personal and racial awakening along with moments that threatened, and occasionally did boil over into racial conflict and violence. While in nearly every instance passions cooled, these stories are useful reminders that amid WWII racial conflict seethed with riots in Los Angeles, Detroit and elsewhere.   Though a much more controlled environment, the Army too struggled with tensions in moments.

When the military shipped the 92nd and 93rd to Louisiana for more training, racial tensions with local civilians became an issue.  Black soldiers that experienced run-ins with racist locals found themselves chastised by white commanding officers. “Now men, we in the South, and we in the army.  You all know that,” a white officer told Nelson Perry. “Some things that you all don’t like.  You all know the score.”  Failure to follow the officer’s advice would result in court martial.[12]  Yet, soldiers found ways to resist, often collectively.   Accompanied by ten or twelve other soldiers, one afternoon, Perry challenged a local proprietor’s Jim Crow policies.  When another solider tore down the “colored” sign and the storekeeper barked out a protest, they proceeded to stuff their pockets with the store’s provisions, stripping it bare in minutes. They left with a stark warning: “You damned peck – we’re the fucking, fighting 93rd. When we leave the 92nd is coming. You better get used to it.”[13]

Unfortunately, limits remained.  Bill Payne, an infantry officer attending Fort Benning, Georgia’s Officer Candidate School (OCS), witnessed a fellow Black OCS candidate denied service at an on-base lunchroom while white soldiers and white prisoners of wars received attention.  Payne wrote to the military paper Yank bemoaning the fact that he and others were not being treated as American soldiers. With that said, pockets of tolerance also surfaced, such as when the movie house at Fort Benning denied him admission and several other white OCS candidates walked out in protest.[14]


Abroad too, sometimes Black-white friendships blossomed, while other times interactions confirmed previously held prejudices. “It’s a funny fact but a white guy as an individual is okay, a clear thinker and a good soldier,” Nelson Peery wrote his mother. “But collectively they can become a cruel, mean mob.”  In the same letter, Peery heralded a white commanding officer by the name of Colonel Frank LaRue who gained the respect of Black servicemen to the extent several named their children “LaRue.”[15] White officers sometimes lamented the fact that Black troops refused buy in to their leadership. “They feel because I am white and they are colored that I am taking advantage of them,” one officer wrote in his diary. “Before I die I must help stamp out this crazy idea that the white man has superiority over the colored man.  In no concrete way has he ever demonstrated it.”[16] However, constant racism also wore down soldiers. In the South Pacific, several soldiers recall fragging incidents such as when one colonel banned Black troops from fraternizing with local Filipino women but issued no such ban to white servicemen. In response, several black troops fired on his tent. “That night several men cut loose with their .30 caliber rifle … ” remembered one soldier, “[m]an, he came crawling out of his tent screaming bloody murder.” The colonel rescinded the order the next day. Fragging occurred in WWII, but officers, as illustrated above, got warning shots; later in Vietnam they would not be afforded the luxury. [17]

Abroad, their efforts at the front went far to dispel stereotypes regarding Black capabilities. Along with the exploits of African soldiers paradoxically fighting for colonial governments, African American servicemen forced military planners to reformulate their definitions of a good soldier. Still, though such actions revealed holes in the military’s racial policies, in the immediate aftermath of WWII, the U.S. armed services made a concerted effort to reduce the number of African American enlistees and enforced segregation more rigidly.  Even President Truman’s famous 1948 Executive Order took years to implement.  For example, not until 1954 did the Navy make any real effort to integrate its housing in places like Louisiana, Charleston, SC or Norfolk, VA. Still, military service served as the defining experience of many Black soldiers.  Interacting with new cultures, encountering different nationalities, gaining a sense of one’s self, and developing a racial consciousness became by products of service. Though many felt disappointment at racism from fellow troops or afterwards as Black veterans gained little respect from white Americans, they also grew that much more resolute in their dedication to civil rights and equality.

How much Truman’s desegregation order affected surrounding communities and the civil rights movement itself remains a debatable point. Morehouse argues strongly that the military “paved the way for the advancement of African American civil, political and social rights.”  No one from military brass to American society at large was ready for integration but the military carried it out incrementally, proving skin color had little to do with quality soldiering.   The military, ironically, even came to be a driving force in integration efforts, as demonstrated by the use of National Guard troops in Little Rock, Arkansas 1957.[18]

“What we call today the civil rights movement was undoubtedly the key to black progress, but neither its origins not its timing can be attributed to the desegregation of the armed forces,” argues Krebs. “While the latter had the potential to touch off the vast mobilization, the political structure of the United States undercut the signal’s credibility and clarity, notwithstanding its cost.”[19] According to Krebs, due to the Great Depression and WWII, which greatly expanded federal power and promoted human rights, Americans exchanged “racialized republicanism” for a “race free liberalism.”[20]

Recently, Daniel HoSang, Mark Brilliant, Lisa Lowe, Matthew Lassiter, and others have explored the limits of postwar racial liberalism and its late 20th century variant, multiculturalism.  Postwar racial liberalism never engaged the systematic institutionalized racism that created inequality, instead framing racial prejudice as example of individual failure and personal prejudice. Massive resisters and civil activists came to be juxtaposed as equals, each unfairly pressuring white moderates and others. Krebs builds on this work, noting that Civil Rights leaders needed to marshal the military service of African Americans as a means to ward off accusations of communism and red baiting.  “As they transformed themselves into zealous liberal anti-communists, they ceased agitating against colonialism, refrained from criticizing U.S. foreign policy, purged organizations of suspected Communist Party members and shunned alliances with the Left,” argues Kreb. As result, civil rights organizations jettisoned larger institutional critiques.[21] However, the Cold War also contributed to some gains. Charlotte Brooks has demonstrated how concerns about domestic human rights abuses like housing integration led some white Americans to consider civil rights as a foreign policy issue.  In order to win over Asian and African nations, the U.S. needed to demonstrate some internal commitment to equality.  Brooks focuses on California’s Asian Americans and considering the especially volatile history of racism toward African Americans, to what extent this helped Blacks remains a question, but undoubtedly national television footage of civil rights protesters being beaten in the South had some effect domestically and internationally.


“Truman’s executive order had brought blacks part of the way into the military mainstream,” noted Moskos and Butler, “the upheaval of the late 1960 gave the impetus for measures leading to fully equality.”[22] As documented by Andrew Myers in his study of Fort Jackson (Columbia, SC), in the late 1960s, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara issued directives regarding the integration off base housing and facilities.  This represented a stark change from the policies of the 1950s and early 1960s, in which military leaders fully enforced integration on installations, but openly bowed to Jim Crow laws off base.   However, this did not prove true universally. In Racial Beachhead: Diversity and Democracy in a Military Town, Stanford historian Carol Lynn McKibben suggests service personnel and their families helped to forge a more tolerant and racially inclusive community in Seaside, CA well before McNamara’s directive. “Their city mirrored what was happening next door at Fort Ord,” notes McKibben.[23]

If race relations within the military enjoyed a general upward trajectory from the 1950s on, Vietnam and the politics of the late 1960s and 1970s blunted progress as racial discord, insubordination, and a general breakdown of discipline plagued the armed forces.  While these circumstances were bad enough, the military’s own failure to integrate the officer corps demonstrated the long distance it had yet to travel toward equality: at the end of the Vietnam war, despite making up 17% of the army’s enlisted force, only three in a hundred officers were African American.  Furthermore, the draft’s dependence on Black, Latino, and working class soldiers and the ability of middle and upper class whites to escape the draft heightened a sense of inequality.


The introduction of the all volunteer force (AVF) ushered in new a demographic era. The white middle class serviceman “became an endangered species,” and Black enlistment soared to over 30%. “Armed with bonuses and the prospect of good pay, the military turned into another competitor in the labor market, replacing the citizen soldier with Economic Man,” concluded Moskos and Butler.[24]  Beth Bailey built on this in her assessment of the AVF in 2009’s America’s Army: The Making of the All Volunteer Force, noting that the transition to market based AVF exchanged “the logic of citizenship with the logic of the market.”[25]  The early years of the AVF were troubled as college graduates disappeared from recruitment lists replaced by rural whites and inner city African Americans who often failed to complete high school. “Army recruiters drew from the poorest and toughest elements of America, white and Black,” Moskos and Butler point out. “Drugs and hooliganism infested the barracks,” to the extent that senior officers and NCOS of the 1990s looked back on the 1970s with greater trepidation than the very difficult Vietnam years.[26] General Maxwell R. Thurman’s recruitment reforms, redirecting priorities from signing bonuses to post service education, “turned the army around.”  According to the authors, though whites and Blacks utilize education benefits at equal percentages (roughly 80%), African American soldiers gave them greater importance by nearly 20%.[27]

Even amid these difficulties, the army of the 1970s took some very important steps toward rectifying its troubles.  Black representation in the officer ranks increased.  If the number of Black Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) equaled 14% in 1970 by 1980, it had nearly doubled to 26% and expanded to 31% ten years later.  Growth in the commissioned officer ranks increased from 3% in 1970 to 7% ten years later and 11% by 1990.   African Americans accounted for 7% of the Army’s generals by the mid-1980s, a number that stayed consistent through the 1990s with Colin Powell’s appointment in 1989 representing the pinnacle of this trend.[28]  Troop levels reflected this surge as well. Of the 500,000 troops deployed for Desert Shield/Desert Storm, 24% were African American and in the army this number rose to 30%. Race relations improved so much since the late 1970s that the media ignored the story, focusing on gender issues.  In the 1992-1993 Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, the U.S. sent the only multiracial contingent and the only one with women to the U.N. peacekeeping force. [29]

How and why has the military been so successful in its integration efforts?  Moskos and Butler go into great detail demonstrating the ethos of race in the modern military.  Race relations in the army serve not as end it itself but rather a critical factor in readiness and combat effectiveness.  In effect, commanders and other leaders must find ways to keep relations functional, failure to do so will negatively impact promotion.  To that end, equal opportunity advisers (EOA) handle the lion’s share of shaping and enforcing racial policies. EOAs provide commanders with assessments of race relations on the ground.  In order to emphasize collective responsibility for the issue, no permanent corps of EOAs exists; rather, NCOs rotate through for two years until returning to their primary specialty (known as Military Occupation Specialty or MOS).  This system avoids entrenched interests and exposes large numbers of NCOs to racial issues that deepen sensitivities.  The Defense Race Relations Institute (DRRI, established 1971) later renamed the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI) trains EOAs and generally works toward fostering equal opportunity training throughout the military.  Though originally created to address the racial struggles of the 1970s, in 1979 with increasing numbers of women entering the armed forces, it began to place greater emphasis on gender issues and sexual harassment.[30]

Black Officer at Fort Myers circa 1970s

According to Moskos and Butler, the influx of black enlisted personnel, increase in officers and higher ups, and the organization’s attention to race relations have combined to create an “Afro-Americanized” environment. “White soldiers become attuned to Afro American cultural patterns as fully as black soldiers adapt to ‘white’ culture, if not more so,” argue the authors. As one white soldier told them, “’In the Army, it’s cool to be black.’”[31] They are not the first to note the military’s role in suturing black identity.  Moskos and Butler point out that Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has suggested the Army of WWII, by mixing northern urban black tradition with its rural southern counterpart, resulted in what we widely recognize today as African American culture.[32] Of equal importance has been the military’s role in maintaining a Black middle class.   With the decline of the old line Black bourgeoisie, African American career soldiers, notably NCOs, have taken their place as conduits for a self-help value structure. They serve as role models, argue writers like Climbing Jacob’s Ladder author Andrew Billingsley.  Moskos and Butler seem to agree, citing the overrepresentation of southern Blacks, more than any other group, in the army’s career force.[33]

To a large extent, the army’s resources and infrastructure replicate that of the old black middle class and provides tangible moral and emotional benefits to Black families.  Growing up surrounded by successful African American soldiers knowledgeable in decision-making and navigating large bureaucracies, Black children absorb this influence while gaining access to a “worldwide educational system of good quality.”  Moskos and Butler note the results of student SAT scores from the Department of Defense Dependent Schools (DoDDS) and the Domestic Elementary and Secondary Schools (DESS) demonstrate that white students do equally as well as their public school peers, but African American students outperform their civilian counterparts. Graduates of DoDDS attend college at roughly equal levels: 69% for whites and 64% for Blacks. This too represents a large difference when compared to civilian African American students who enroll in college at over just half the rate of white students.[34]

Clearly, Moskos and Butler view the military, and the army specifically, as a model to be emulated and many of their assertions hold merit. They are correct when asserting that African American culture needs to be seen as part of America’s core identity, organizations must be “ruthless against discrimination” and society should emphasize Black opportunity rather than simply ban racist expression. In order to capitalize on opportunity, programs of support need to be established; hold affirmative action to high standards but give people the tools to reach those expectations. All for the good, many observers would argue. However, they also reduce race to the usual Black/white binary.   When enlistment levels were disproportionate, meaning African Americans served at levels greater than their percentage of the total population, this made some sense.   Additionally, few people realized the tide of immigration that would wash over the US in the late 1990s, today Latino enlistment reaches over 10%.

Gulf War I

Indeed, Bailey noted that for decades when the army used the term minority it really just meant Black. Moskos and Butler acknowledge this but argue the principle should be expanded throughout society. “The basic dichotomy in our society is black versus white and, increasingly, black versus nonblack,” they write, “the core reality is that blacks have a dual sense of identity and grievance with America, one that is unique and far stronger than any other ethnic group’s sense of belonging or not belonging.”[35] Racial prejudice being more pernicious and pervasive than class discrimination requires affirmative action to be focused on African Americans. As with a growing number of intellectuals of the 1990s, the authors then proceed to throw shade on multiculturalism, essentially blaming it for displacing African American priorities in affirmative action programs.

Granted, Moskos and Butler are not wrong in their assertions about African Americans enduring a particularly vicious and entrenched institutional racism but they failed to envision shifts in the Black population’s own view of service.  From 2000 to 2005, Black enlistment declined from 24% to 14%. The perception that the military treated all Blacks equally also dipped.  In the 1970s, only 10% of Black high school seniors saw the military as a racially discriminatory workplace, but this number doubled in the 1990s before settling in at 15% in 2003.  Certainly, this factor only partially explains the shift. For example, one of the army’s most reliable sources of recruits have been historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), which unlike many other educational institutions never prohibited ROTC programs or armed force enlistment.  With more and more minority students attending schools where ROTC no longer has a place, they never get exposed to the possibility of a military career.

Agreement on Moskos and Butler’s finding vary.  Beth Baileys aforementioned and excellent social history of the AVF’s creation, credits it with creating a force that did largely eschew racism and provided inner city and rural low income youth paths to the middle class.  Unfortunately, its efforts in integrating women and gays have proven more ham fisted, though clearly over the past two years large strides in both areas have been made (again see Beth Bailey – here). Others like Brown’s Catherine Lutz find great fault with Moskos and Butler’s racial binary when it depicts African Americans as soldiers on a frontier rife with social Darwinism.  “[Moskos and Butler] intend irony only for the fist half of their statement that the African American 9th and 10th Cavalry Regiments, commanded by white officers had the duty of controlling hostile Indians on the Great Plains,” writes Lutz.  In general, Lutz citing evidence that strains of white supremacism have embedded themselves in parts of the military, the armed forces may have deinstitutionalized  racism and sexism, but they definitely had not eliminated it.[36]

Black Troops Fighting for the US in the Philippines, as Lutz notes, problematic when one considers the racial logic of the day

Knowing all this, Colin Powell’s recent tangle with Bill O’Reilly confirms many of the observations made by Morehouse, Krebs, Moskos, and Butler. Black veterans like Powell have historically been active politically, the exploits and political awareness of Morehouse’s subjects demonstrate this clearly; Krebs too correctly notes that though desegregation of the armed forces mattered, it did not spark the civil rights movement so much as the wartime experiences of Black soldiers did. Nonetheless, the forced integration of the army had numerous effects on surrounding municipalities and provided many African Americans with a better career than the segregated private economy of the 1950s and 1960s.  With the shift to an AVF, more than ever, the military dedicated itself to improving race relations by creating a climate that emphasized the collective responsibility for and importance of racial equality.  Having been there since Vietnam, Powell had seen the military’s lowest point and its subsequent rebound. Yet, much like Black veterans before him who through their service continued a central thread of U.S. history, Powell felt compelled to reassert his own identity as an American.

[1] Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, All that We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way, New York: Basic Books, 1996, 118.

[2] Ibid, 14.

[3] Ian Svenonius, Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘N’ Roll Group, New York: Akashic Books, 2013, 131.

[4] Ronald R. Krebs, Fighting for Rights: Military Service and the Politics of Citizenship, Ithaca, NY: Cornel University Press, 2006, 118.

[5] Ibid, 134.

[6] Maggi M. Morehouse, Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II, New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000, 38.

[7] Ibid, 5.

[8] Ibid, 208.  According to interviews conducted by Morehouse with Black WWII veterans, the integration at the Battle of the Bulge was not complete.  “My platoon was black, and we had a French platoon on one side and some English Troops on the other side.  I didn’t sleep or eat with the white soldiers.”

[9] Ibid, 38.

[10] Ibid, 10.

[11] Ibid, 43.

[12] Ibid, 93.

[13] Ibid, 94.

[14] Ibid, 118.

[15] Ibid, 146.

[16] Ibid, 147.

[17] Ibid, 150.

[18] Ibid, 222.

[19] Ronald R. Krebs, Fighting for Rights, 172.

[20] Ibid, 159.

[21] Ibid, 166.

[22] Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, All that We Can Be, 31.

[23] Carol Lynn McKibben, Racial Beachhead: Diversity and Democracy in a Military Town, Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012, 79.

[24] Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, All that We Can Be, 33.

[25] Beth Bailey, America’s Army: Making the All Volunteer Force, Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2009, 4

[26] Charles C. Moskos and John Sibley Butler, All that We Can Be, 34.

[27] Ibid, 34.  These reforms were institutionalized under the Montgomery G.I. Bill in 1985.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Ibid, 34-36.

[30] Ibid, 56.

[31] Ibid, 43.

[32] Ibid, 29.

[33] Ibid, 99.

[34] Ibid, 103.

[35] Ibid, 139.

[36] Catherine Lutz, Homefront: A Military City and the American 20th Century,  Boston: Beacon Press, 2001, 243-245.