Apportioned into three parts, this volume chronicles the long and tortured saga of African Americans and military service, analyzes its current state, and assesses its prospects for the future. Authors Harris and Lewis, both African American female veterans, bring a powerful perspective to the “ourstory,” centered on African American aspirations and their ongoing negotiations with racism (p. xv). From the 17th century onward, the white need for black soldiers existed in tension with the fear of arming blacks. African Americans, however, used the chance for military service to demonstrate their humanity and fitness for first-class citizenship and to seek upward mobility. Since then, African American veterans have experienced gains in the military and the larger society because of military service, but not to the same degree as whites. Similarly, African Americans have borne the brunt of recent drawdowns and encounter continued structural racism in the military, making younger African Americans less likely than earlier generations to see the military as a path to betterment. In order to earn the trust of the younger generation, the authors call on the military to continue to work to overcome its institutional racism.
Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty.
— Choice Reviews
“Blacks in the Military and Beyond is an important contribution to our scholarship on this topic. The book not only tells the fascinating story of integration of blacks in the U.S. Armed Forces, its background, development, but also where we are today as well as what should be done in the future to advance military race relations. Equally vital, it underscores the broader historic, political, economic, and social impacts of military desegregation on the long, complex struggle for civil rights and human equality in America.”
— Richard Stillman, University of Colorado and author of The Integration of the Negro in the U.S. Armed Forces
“Dr. G.L.A Harris and Dr. Evelyn Lewis have a made a major contribution in the long-storied history of African Americans in the military in their comprehensive and well researched book. Blacks in the Military and Beyond’ s exploration of the African American military experience is both insightful and informative and integrates the sociological, economic, political climates in exploring the multiple facets of the experiences and impacts on our country. It serves as a wonderful repository of information, historical documentation of events, facts, and a beacon to help light the way to a future of a more diverse and inclusive United States of America.”
— Admiral Adam M. Robinson, 36th Surgeon General of the U.S. Navy