African American Servicemen in Vietnam: Clashes of Race and Generation

Thomas Shepherd

Abstract


During the Vietnam War a disproportionate number of African Americans served in combat positions and the lowest ranks. All black servicemen faced institutional racism, but age and rank determined their response. Older servicemen and officers understood that whites had a better chance at promotions and fair treatment but they overlooked these flaws in favour of social mobility and steady employment. By the mid-to-late sixties, witnesses of urban riots and civil rights activism along with proponents of Black Power and Black Nationalism reached Vietnam and changed how young black men interacted with each other, their superiors, and their white peers.


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The Corvette

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