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Irony of a Black Soldier

As we come to observe another Veterans Day, honoring our troops; let us also look at the irony of being a Black Soldier in the American Army. African Americans have always been willing to enlist and be on the front line fighting for America. Hopeful, they fought with the idea that one day the same reasons they risked their lives overseas would manifest within the country they call home.

Going back to 1862, African American men had been granted the right to enlist into the Civil War in support of the Union. Many men jumped at the chance to volunteer to be a part of the troops. Fredrick Douglas, a famous activist, had even encouraged African Americans to go and enlist. Then again during WWII, the U.S. Armed Forces were resistant to allowing African Americans to join and serve along side their white counterparts. African Americans were segregated within the U.S. Armed Forces and were restricted from combat. The U.S Armed Forces finally realized the extra participation of the African American Soldiers was crucial to America’s success in the war. The Tuskegee Airmen are a prime example of this. They were not given any substantial missions at first, but when the war started to intensify, they were sent on multiple missions that they successfully completed.

 

Oh, the irony. Black Soldiers willing to die for America, but would America do the same?

After fighting for the Union and risking their lives to keep America from becoming a divided nation, African American Soldiers still weren’t viewed any different. After the war was over, racism was still at an all-time high and slavery was still on the table. Slavery didn’t end because white Americans had finally recognized African Africans as more than property, it ended because it was the only way Lincoln would be able to keep the nation together. Even though African Americans were out risking their lives fighting for the Union, it still didn’t qualify them to be considered human. Similarly, with the Tuskegee Airmen and other Black troops that fought in WWII, they did not receive much recognition in America when they immediately returned. Other countries, such as Italy, were more thankful and supportive of those troops than Americans. America was fighting this war against Adolf Hitler but had racist policies and segregation techniques being carried out on its own soil.

Black Soldiers stand tall and strong and fight under the American name. It’s not too much to ask America to do the same.

Loryn Hairston

Hampton U '20

"She is clothed with STRENGTH & DIGINITY Prov. 31:25" Lo. 20 y/o. ny. strategic communications major pre-law track, c/o 20. writer + future esq. + avid reader.
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