Black Americans’ fight for equality in the U.S. armed forces has been a rough road. At times, the Army has been a leader in driving change in the United States. In other instances, the institution has stood with “feet of clay.” Charles Allen and John Nagl have studied the history of black soldiers throughout American history, and their work has led to a new elective course at the Army War College, a recent Joint Force Quarterly article and a number of presentations to the force. Their hope is to educate and inspire others to the recognition and gratitude owed generations of black soldiers who persevered through unjust treatment and segregation by a nation that they sought to defend.
Over the past number of years I’ve learned to go back and look at history, look at our people and try to make connections to what we’re trying to accomplish. A part of that has been looking at black history and every time I open a book, read a study, listen to a podcast I discover how much I don’t know.
Charles Allen is Professor of Leadership and Cultural Studies at the U.S. Army War College.
John Nagl is an Associate Professor of Warfighting Studies at the U.S. Army War College. He is the author of Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife: Counterinsurgency Lessons from Malaya and Vietnam.
Ron Granieri is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.
Photo Description: F Company, 24th Infantry, at Fort Bayard, New Mexico, 1892
Photo Credit: Original Image Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration