CHAPTER 2 of Language of Racism
Threw the years many historians have told the story of the fight for freedom, the horrific and brutal acts performed on African Americans. As time has went on society has adapted a language to dispute racial inequality because there are alot of Euro- Americans, not all that want everyone to believe that racist doesn’t exist. Slavery is abolished and every man is free to choose his own path. They believe African Americans are using slavery as an excuse. That they aren’t smart enough to get an education and a good job and live the American Dream like every other immigrant. You would think this is a given there are immigrants who are successful; even some African Americans are. But I would do you my reader an injustice if I said I believed in this American Dream. Don’t get me wrong there are many who would feel angered by my words.
They would argue I should be grateful for my life here in America I mean what’s the option?
"A life in a country like Africa riddled with disease and corruption".
These are not my words just a statement that is made repeatedly by voices of dissent. So I want to be clear Africa is not perfect but I recognize their struggles and among them many victories threw out history trying to save their economy and shape their path as well. With all due respect I am an African American and its insulting to suggest my rights should not be addressed instead I should be shipped back to Africa. The part about going back to Africa is not insulting; I’m sure visiting would be amazing and the President of Ghana is offering citizenship which is absolutely amazing to say the least. However, there are some who have already taken up this offer and some African Americans have resettled in Africa. So let’s also be clear on this one indisputable fact:
” Africa has and always will be a land of beauty and multiple resources regardless of her areas of poverty and political struggles.”
You can quote me on that but lets not lose focus:
Verse 1. WWI
For this second installment piece I would like to focus on the Patriots of the African American community and show how prejudice is still relevant even today. The first war where African Americans were allowed to serve in the army is WW1 & 2 and of coarse they wanted to do this thinking it will earn them some respect and even further the advancement of equality in the U.S. However their story is littered with prejudice and unfair treatment.
I think we should acknowledge that in 1917 which is when the U.S. declared war on Germany; the Army were considered progressive in their thinking by allowing African Americans to serve. That is right it was not legal for them to enter into the Marines and they were only allowed tasks with mundane duties in The Coast Guard & The Navy. (the Air Force wasn’t founded until Sept. 18, 1947).
Verse 2. 92nd & 93rd Division
Even though they were eventually allowed to have their own divisions and officers; things were still the same as back home there was segregation everywhere. From the time they trained, to their living quarters even socially because African American officers were still not welcome to officers clubs or their quarters so they stayed with their men. The mess hall was even off limits where a German captive could eat but an African American soldier could not. Imagine how low they were thought of if a salute to an African American officer was not tolerated by a man of lesser rank if he wasn’t African American. I also want to point out that they fought beside the French. These African American soldiers …whole divisions were just given to the French to use them as they saw fit. There just was nothing equal about it. Still in spite of all of this the 92nd and the 93rd Divisions still managed to make their mark in history.
Even though their first assignment at Argonne was not a success. The 92nd managed to impress the French after they later took on patrols at Marbache sector. We know that because the 365th Infantry and 350th Machine Gun Battalion were decorated by the French for bravery and aggressiveness.
Later down the timeline the 93rd got their turn to earn medals as well.
All the members of the Harlem Hellfighters also knows as the 369th Infantry Regiment recieved the French medal Croix de Guerre, along with presenting 171 individual awards for exceptional gallantry in action to other member of the 93rd.
Although the 369th won much of the glory for the 93d Division, the 370th, 371st, and 372d Regiments, each assigned to different French divisions, also proved themselves worthy of acclaim at the front. The 370th fought hard in both the Meuse-Argonne and Oise-Aisne campaigns. Seventy-one members of the regiment received the French Croix de Guerre, and another twenty-one soldiers received the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC). Company C, 371st Infantry, earned the Croix de Guerre with Palm. The 371st Regiment spent more than three months on the front lines in the Verdun area, and for its extraordinary service in the Champagne offensive, the entire regiment was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm. In addition, three of the 371st’s officers were awarded the French Legion of Honor, 123 men won the Croix de Guerre, and twenty-six earned the DSC.
These men were decorated war heroes in the American army but came home still fighting for their lives and their freedoms and many of them losing their lives afterwards because of the training they now had.Worse still they were never honored as Americans until most of them were dead for some time. But, I remember them and I honor them every time someone reads this likes it or shares it. May they always be remembered as the valiant soldiers and activist that they all were.
The 371 st was given French equipment, and had to turn in their prized Springfield rifles for
French rifles. The unit was reorganized to fit the French army structure and spent the
spring of 1918 training in French tactics, communicating via interpreters. That summer,
the regiment was put into the line to relieve exhausted French and allied Italian units.
I think this picture says alot about how the French felt about the 93rd. My only wish is that they would have been honored like this by the U.S.while they were living.
The 369th Infantry Regiment—also known as the Harlem Hellfighters—were an infantry regiment of the U.S. Army National Guard during World War I comprised of African Americans that were known for their toughness and the fact that they never lost a trench, foot of ground, or a man through capture to the enemy. Due to their feats, they were given their nickname by the Germans.
“The American army didn’t want to have anything to do with them,” says Mario Tharpe, the director, writer, and producer of Fighting on Both Fronts: The Story of the 370th, which airs Friday, November 10 at 8:30 pm. Many African American soldiers never saw combat, instead being assigned positions as laborers. “Anthony Powell, a historian from San Jose, puts it well,” says Tharpe. “He says that for the black soldiers that came from down South, to join the army was leaving one hell to go to another form of hell, but one in which they wouldn’t be beaten or lynched.”
Members of the regiment had the distinguished record of never surrendering or retreating and their participation in the Meuse-Argonne advance was decisive in ending the war after members of the 372nd were credited with taking nearly 600 prisoners, securing large quantities of engineering supplies and artillery ammunition.
For its actions during the Meuse-Argonne, the regiment was awarded the Croix de Guerre with Palm.
Fighting on Both Fronts: The Story of the 370th is available to stream.
The 370th “Black Devils”
Although redesignated as the 370th Infantry Regiment during World War I, the unit’s history begins nearly 20 years before entry into the war. Initially organized in 1895 as the 9th Battalion Infantry, the all-black National Guard unit was redesignated as the 8th Illinois Infantry in 1898. After federal service in the Spanish-American war, the unit was called again in 1916 for service on the Mexican Border.After World War I, the regiment reorganized and is known today as the Illinois National Guard’s 178th Infantry.
In early 1918, the New York troopers assisted French General Henri Gourand in his “elastic defense strategy,” and later in the year the 370th and 372nd regiments fought under Marshall Ferdinand Foch during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Additionally, the Illinois troops assisted the French during the Oise-Aisne Offensive just prior to the Armistice, where they earned the French Fourragèr
Verse 3: WWII
I wanted to give them all a chance to shine I wanted to highlight their individual accomplishments. But we would be here for days there are so many. Now although that fact makes me happy on one hand it saddens me on the other. But, in this article for the sake of their individual spotlights I broke the two divisions up between WW1 and WW2 and it just so happens history favors this because the 92nd didn’t get much action in WW1 as I explained earlier alot of soldiers were not in combat they were working mundane jobs. In no way does this diminish their service because without them so much wouldn’t have gotten done but it would be wrong if their accomplishments weren’t highlighted. Their valor and bravery was surely a sight to see and I want them to be remembered forever as the true patriots we know they were then and still are to this day. In WW2 the 92nd got their time to shine.
In addition to the 370th, at that point the 92nd consisted of two other infantry regiments, the 365th and the 371st; four field artillery battalions, the 597th, 598th, 599th and 600th; plus headquarters battery, the 92nd Reconnaissance Troop, the 317th Engineer Combat Battalion and 317th Medical Battalion, as well as a medical battalion, signal company, quartermaster company, maintenance personnel and military police.
They were a formidable company by any standard by this time but their path to make their mark in history would not be any easy one. Their story is one of bravery and resourcefulness having rode mules because horses weren’t available and making horseshoes out of barbed wire. At one point they even rode on tanks into the sea to avoid land mines. Although they did reach their goal and break the Gothic line and helped captured 24,000 prisoners they were still frowned upon in their performance. Threw all of this they still managed to receive 12,000 decorations and citations for their performance in battle. Their story is definitely one for the books.
The 92nd would face not only mountainous terrain and tremendous resistance—including the German Fourteenth Army and its Italian Fascist soldiers, but also an array of man-made defensive works the Germans constructed bunkers, tank emplacements, tunnels and anti-tank ditches; reinforced existing Italian castles; and laid carefully designed minefields intended to herd enemy troops into interlocking fields of fire. For the most part, the American military establishment considered the “experiment” of black combat troops a failure. The black press blamed segregation, while the army’s upper echelons cited racial inferiority, though not all white officers shared that opinion.
The 92nd Infantry Division, a military unit of approximately fifteen thousand officers and men, was one of only two all-black divisions to fight in the United States Army in World War I and World War II. The 92nd Division was organized in October 1917 at Camp Funston, Kansas, and included black soldiers from across the United States. Before leaving for France in 1918, it received the name “Buffalo Soldier Division” as a tribute to the four Buffalo soldier regiments that fought in the regular U.S. Army in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Black regimental bands introduced jazz music to the French people. In 1919, the 370th Regiment’s “Black Devils Band” went on a successful concert tour of the mid-western states and east coast. The ensemble played classical music and several jazz pieces, including the “Memphis Blues” and the wildly popular “Livery Stable Blues.”
The 371st Infantry Regiment was a segregatedAfrican Americanregiment, nominally a part of the 93rd Division, that served in World War I under French Army command, and also in World War II in the Italian Campaign as part of the 92nd Infantry Division (Colored). The 371st was awarded the French Croix de Guerre as a unit award. Freddie Stowers, received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1991 for actions in the assault on Côte 188. During the war, one officer received the French Légion d’Honneur, 22 officers and men received the Distinguished Service Cross (United States), and 123 officers and men received the French Croix de Guerre.
“The Eighth Illinois National Guard Regiment, which during the Great War came to be known as the 370th U. S. Infantry, was the only regiment in the entire United States Army that was called into service with almost a complete complement of colored officers from the highest rank of Colonel to the lowest rank of Corporal.”
A monument to the unit, near where Stowers earned the Medal of Honor, was erected in the Meuse-Argonne region, north of Sechault. It was completed after the regiment returned to the United States. The 371st Infantry Regiment (Colored) was formed in August 1917 and consisted of African-American draftees, mostly from South Carolina, with additional members from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, other southern states, and elsewhere, including Maryland and Pennsylvania. They were commanded by white officers, mainly from the South.
The 371st, along with the 365th, another regiment of the division, was withdrawn from the front line and designated a “security” regiment, presumably for military police duties.
The Croix de Guerre (French: [kʁwa də ɡɛʁ], Cross of War) is a military decoration of France. It was first created in 1915 and consists of a square-cross medal on two crossed swords, hanging from a ribbon with various degree pins. The decoration was awarded during World War I, again in World War II, and in other conflicts. The Croix de Guerre was also commonly bestowed on foreign military forces allied to France. 369th Infantry Regiment “Harlem Hellfighters” – For service during WW I in the French 16th and 161st Divisions (Regiment reorganized and re-designated as of 20 July 2007 as the 369th Sustainment Brigade, 53d Troop Command, New York Army National Guard)
The 92nd Division was first constituted on paper 24 October 1917 in the National Army, over six months after the U.S. entry into World War I. The division was commanded throughout most of its existence by Major GeneralCharles C. Ballou and was composed of the 183rd Infantry Brigade with the 365th and 366th Infantry Regiments, and the 184th Infantry Brigade with the 367th and 368th Infantry Regiments, together with supporting artillery, engineer, medical and signal units attached.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 1997 – Tears streamed down Vernon Baker’s face as President Clinton hung the Medal of Honor around his neck during White House ceremonies honoring seven African-American World War II veterans denied the medal until now.
Baker is the only one still alive. The others honored were Staff Sgt. Edward A. Carter Jr., 1st Lt. John R. Fox, Pfc. Willy F. James Jr., Staff Sgt. Ruben Rivers, 1st Lt. Charles L. Thomas and Pvt. George Watson.
African American died in WWI
African Americans died in WWII
As you can see the path to equality for a black man or woman ( a double minority in America) is difficult and riddled with racial inequality based off racial profiling in a society built on systematic racism. It took 52 years for these honorary men to receive the highest honor of recognition in the U.S. Its also worth noting that when the victory was celebrated these men were not acknowledged and alot of this information was written years sometimes even more than a half a century later in an effort to have a real account of their service in WWI and WWII.It’s only right that we address this issue because there has been so much talk about African Americans disrespecting the flag. For the last couple of years football players have protested the pledge of allegiance at games because of racism and police brutality and have been penalized and/ or fired. The whole point behind the protest was lost as the voices of dissent accused them of being un- patriotic and disrespecting the American flag. .
The irony of the situation was these players were Americans too and the last thing they wanted to do was disrespect veterans or active duty which was actually not even relevant to the topic at hand. Even as a successful football player not much has changed when trying to prove a point about racism and how it affects POC. The opportunity to succeed can be a landmine of negative interactions for some people of color (POC) that lead them down a dark path. Not everyone can be honorable and represent their people some choose to operate as rogue citizens called criminals. It’s probably a good idea to note that as I previously pointed out there are several types of nationalities in this country, and they all have a criminal element.
It would be absurd to silence ones whole race on the actions of a percentage of them doing wrong. That’s prejudice. Do you understand now?StarDreams 7/2/20 7:31pm (Released 7/4/20 9:am)