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Customer Discussions > Black History forum

Lynching black Americans in World War II?

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Showing 1-12 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 18, 2008, 6:51:08 PM PST
C. Gilbert says:
I had talked to a few old black men about World War II, and asked them if Black men were still being lynched in the armed services in world war II. Well a couple said they did hear about it, and it was a rumor to be going around, and they thought there was some truth to it because they were still lynching black men in the southern States of the USA.

I was wondering if anyone knew for certain if this did occur or not?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2008, 8:27:39 AM PST
Galen says:
my faternal grand father was in World War II and my father said he told stories of being shot at by the enemy and his own men this happened to alot of black men some were killed and it was marked off as friendly fire now my maternal grand father was white an immagrant from Ireland and my grand mother half native American half African so I am a mutt lol no seriously the lynching stil went on my mother and her sisters and brothers witnessed lynchings so yes they lived during that time frame they were eye witnesses to lynchings they will talk about them reluctantly if we ask

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2008, 2:22:29 PM PST
C. Gilbert says:
Thank you so much for answering me Galen. This type of discussion can be very painful to those that had to endure it. I have not found a history book that documents this type of abuse of black men in World War II. The black men I discussed this with said they never witnessed the abuse, but they heard about it. They also were warned when joining certain Units to do their job, and don't mess up or else. The ones in the war suffered from fights mainly of different units that just would not accept them being there, this was in-between war battles. Mostly, the black men in fighting Units that came in the later years of the war fought along side the white men, and the white men did not know until the battle was won in that area that the black men were protecting and fighting along side them. As soon as the battle was over, it was back to prejudiced bickering etc, but at first it was total shock for the white men when they found out who was helping them out. In the battle zone so far what I have heard is that there was no lynchings. The lynching's and shootings were mainly of the black troops that were in the low end jobs, like cooking, building roads, cleaning, etc. This is not saying there was no abuse of the black men that were in the battle zone in one form or another. Many of them were beaten or suffered abuse of one type or another from other white troops that were in the area. It is not also saying that it just never happen in the battle zone. It just means I have so far, not found any proof of it happening in the battle zone. So it could of happened, and it was rare.

Would you believe it has taken me seven years to get what little information I have learned so far on this subject? It is almost like it is taboo to discuss it. Or it could be that very few units in the war had to endure that real bad physical abuse, and the shootings, and lynchings. I do know that the men I talked too said it was mainly Sargent's etc from the deep south that were trigger, and noose happy. I asked two black men that served if they believed the rumors, and they said yes because they were still lynching black people in the south in World War II. They also believed they were shot too. They both said something that really stood out, and that was in World War II. "Your word really meant something." So they never doubted what they were told even if it was hearsay.

I am still looking for war related info. So if any one has info please do post a reply.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2008, 6:15:59 PM PST
Galen says:
look there has to be old new paper articles because when lynchings occured white people would come from all around and there was write-ups in the local news papers schools would even start late and or close early so kids could come out and see the lynching horrible stuff indeed so aybe a historian can help us

I'll see what I can find out at my local library and my university's wed library

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2008, 6:43:24 PM PST
C. Gilbert says:
yes but this has nothing to do with the local papers. That is why it is so hard to document. This has to do with black men IN World War II and how they were treated.

To give you a idea one of the men i talked too said that in the war he claims it was not uncommon to hear about a black man just vanishing this happen after a fall out with their commanding officer. The man told me that word was he was killed. Not even their families were given a explanation as to what happen to them. I will admit that this can be called hearsay. But who is to say the man was wrong? The same man told me that war was hell if your commanding officer was a southern born white man. Many regiments were run by commanding officers that were white, who had full control over black men. As a matter of fact most were run by white men only. They had black officers running them at the end of the war. They treated a black man as third class, not capable of learning, and they never treated them different until the end of the war.

Meanwhile in the USA black people were third class still not able to have the same liberties as white men. I also found out that some of the black men that did make it back home after the war, and tried to better themselves, and were successful were lynched.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2008, 6:04:33 PM PST
Galen says:
Yes I know about this awful stuff uh I did not get a chance to research are you saying that I won't be able to find out anything what about NAACP records or Final call records something this is not right I heard that lynchings rapes and beatings were reported to the FBI and the records were discarded

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2008, 7:20:33 PM PST
C. Gilbert says:
In the war, the men had for the most part one or two superior officers watching over them. As far as the war was concerned, nothing happened, business as usual. To most, or for most of the bigotry that was going on, the black mans word meant nothing. I assume that many only saw one or two officers, and never had the opportunity to report. Or... It never got reported to the higher officers because the black man status in the war was low, and not accepted as believable. So this I believe is why it is so hard to document it during World War II overseas. The soldiers that came back and were lynched in their home towns, their lynchings were documented. I found several of those all over the South. But overseas ... no.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2008, 4:05:37 AM PST
Galen says:
I have a project due at I so I a doing research right now let me see what I can find maybe another set of eyes can come up with something also I live on the east coast I am not sure what part of the country you are from but maybe there is a difference maybe there is information internationally France maybe

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2008, 8:41:01 AM PST
C. Gilbert says:
Read this: Even though this talks about World War I some of the very things endured in World War I were passed on to World War II. Note above that a couple black men told me that full regiments with nothing but black soldiers were treated better than the ones that had white officers, and if those officers were from the south then woe to the black men. Plus they said the black black labor units had it worse than the black men that were given a chance to fight. Even though some had better treatment some were still treated worse than dogs regardless their status in the war. This sort of leads me to believe that the lynching was still going on too in France, Germany, and everywhere else in Europe. hmmm I wonder if Europe ever had slaves? Maybe i should take a peek around the Net and see what I can find. It could be they did, and because these men were black they didn't see anything wrong with their treatment even though slaves was outlawed they too could of segregated the black men. Then they would of not seen anything wrong with their treatment.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 3, 2008, 11:00:53 AM PST
C. Gilbert says:
lookie at what I found. But I just think the price is too high. I understand it is history, but gee folks.

Soldiers Of Misfortune : Ivoirien Tirailleurs of WW II

Posted on Mar 4, 2010, 10:34:41 AM PST
The Bridge Party

I wrote my play The Bridge Party to commemorate the struggles and challenges of family and friends in the 1940's in Tennessee. The setting for the play is the 40's. The play is based on a lynching that took place in the 30's that pre-figures this 1940's event. When a returning WWII soldier defended his mother (who had been slapped by a local storekeeper), he was arrested. The National Guard was called in after the Black community stood up and resisted. WWII vets were still in uniform. The rallying cry for the Black community in the forties was No More Social Lynchings. Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund were brought in to defend the Black citizen soldiers who were arrested. After defending our country in WWII, these men were not willing to settle for defeat at home.
Sandra Seaton

Posted on Mar 4, 2010, 5:41:10 PM PST
Galen says:
Please keep me posted on thos play it sounds like something I would like to take my children to see
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Lynching black Americans in World War II? 11 Mar 4, 2010
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Discussion in:  Black History forum
Participants:  3
Total posts:  12
Initial post:  Feb 18, 2008
Latest post:  Mar 4, 2010

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