Mention of the blacks in the military inevitably brings to mind the Tuskegee Airmen or perhaps Buffalo soldiers. However,as borne out in Robert Morris' nicely-done book, black American men and women can boast of A LEGACY OF HONOR FROM THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION TO TODAY.
Morris' book, published in 2011 by Zenith Books, surveys the black experience with chapters on the American Revolution, Civil War, campaigns in the West, the World Wars, Korea, Vietnam and conflicts through 2010. Some wars rate more than one chapter. World War II, for example, is covered in three chapters: 'Black Women at War;' 'Tuskegee Airmen Soaring Above, 758th Tankers Rumbling Below;' and 'Song of the South Pacific.' Each chapter contains a comprehensive summary of experiences and exploits, sidebars of black Medal of Honor winners in that conflict, scads of b&w and color illustrations along with personal reminiscences and topics of special interest.
Obviously the black experience has been a mixed one, many African-Americans having to battle discrimination and blatant racism throughout the years in stateside training bases and overseas deployments. Consequently, the text makes for poignant reading, accounts of black heroism being interwoven with sickening descriptions of brutality against African-American soldiers. Ultimately though, BLACK FACES OF WAR underscores the devotion, patriotism and nobility of warriors such as Aaron Anderson, Henry Flipper, Robert Penn, Brent Woods, A. R. Fisher, Harriet Pickens, Benjamin O. Davis, James Morris Jr., William Baldwin, Samuel Gravely Jr. and 'Chappie' James.
In short, BLACK FACES OF WAR is an informative, compelling, sometimes horrifying chronicle of the brave black men and women who have faithfully served in the U.S. military over the decades, battling the nation's enemies and often racism at the same time. Highly recommended.
on June 9, 2012
"Black Faces of War: A Legacy of Honor From the American Revolution to Today" commemorates the achievements by African Americans in the United States military from the American Revolution to the present. I loved the perfect blend of paintings, photography and prose to tell this story. The book includes contributions from prominent historian Hal Chase, W. Stephen Morris, and Luther H. Smith, one of the celebrated Tuskegee Airmen.
My own education of "The Black Faces of War" began when I was a college history major I visited Fort Davis, Texas and first learned of the Buffalo Soldiers at Fort Davis from 1867-1885. It showed a gap in my education concerning the role of African-American's in the US military.
Author Robert V. Morris' work includes black military heroes such as Crispus Attucks, the first man to die in the Revolutionary War. We learn the story of Lieutenant James Reese Europe. He brought jazz music to Europe in 1918. Lieutenant Charity Adams, commander of the only all-black Women's Army Corps unit during World War II narrative is told. The book also includes General Colin Powell, who served with merit in Vietnam. He became the first African-American Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War. He also retired a four-star general before becoming the first African-American Secretary of State.
This is a must addition to any military historian's library as well as community library. The history of African-Americans in the US military is a too often neglected history. It is necessary that not only African-Americans, but also all Americans know of the import contributions made throughout history.