Blacks Break The Barriers Term Paper

Length: 7 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Military Type: Term Paper Paper: #59954712 Related Topics: Pearl Harbor, Mr Smith Goes To Washington, The Pearl, Black Studies

Excerpt from Term Paper :

African-Americans Breaking Barriers in World War II Barrier Breakers

African-Americans and Non- Combat Jobs

First General: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

Howard Perry

Doris Miller: "The Hero"

Tuskegee Airmen

Phyllis Mae Daliey

African-Americans Breaking Barriers in World War II

History shows very well that African-American soldiers were a group of men that played a significant role in World War II. Furthermore, it actually shows that more than half a million had actually served in Europe. In spite of the numbers they still encountered racial discrimination: prior to the war the military maintained a racially segregated force. In recent that have been done by studies from the military, blacks were most of the time classified as not being the best fit but being very unfit for combat and were not permitted on the front lines. It is also important to note that they were typically given support duties, and were not permitted in units with soldiers that were white. However, during the year of 1941, all of that changed, when pressure from African-American civil rights leaders got together and started convincing the government to set up all-black combat units, as certain type experiments. History shows that they were made in order to see rather or not African-American soldiers were able to perform military tasks the same way that the white soldiers were able to perform them.

Barrier Breakers

African-Americans were the ones that set the tone for other minority Americans during these very racist times. For instance, retired people such as United States Army Colonel Bill De Shields, a historian and creator of The Black Military History Organization of America in Annapolis, Maryland, makes the point, "The sign of black contribution at that time was 'the Double V'. This was saying that, 'Double V' signified two victories: victory in contradiction of the enemy abroad, and victory in contrast to the enemy at home. The enemy at home of course being racism, perception, preconception and Jim Crow"

Mr. De Shields makes the point that widespread racial discrimination all through throughout American society made it problematic for black soldiers. He mentions the early achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen and other black units were the ones that paved the way towards completely assimilating the military. "The participation and experiment the African-Americans made throughout war time from World War II all the way up to the Vietnam War permitted us to start making a change in life of a civilian. It displays that whites and blacks working together, can work on basis that are integrated. It displays that it does not disturb the confidence of the troops," articulates Mr. De Shields. In spite of orders from President Harry Truman in 1948 to assimilate the United States military, black troops were still reserved in separate units throughout the Korean War, which lasted all the way up until 1953.

Jack Jones joined the U.S. Navy in 1942. He mentions, "When I first came to the military blacks were demoted to service type everyday jobs where you did things such as serving officers their food, cleaning, and doing their rooms. Nevertheless by the time I got out African-Americans were all the way from the top down to the lowest. We had numerous admirals and a cluster of commanders."

By the time the Vietnam War had broken out during the 1960s and then the 70s the military was totally joined and black's armed forces were on the front lines and making some type of difference. It is true that African-Americans were the ones that actually made up beyond ten percent of every one of the forces that were in the Southeast Asia.

As said by Mr. De Shields, "What took place in World War II also paved the way for those that fought in the Vietnam War which was the one war in which African-Americans did it all. They broke the barriers in World War II and because of that they were the generals, they were those that were leaders, they also did things such as fly the airplanes, then they were able to drive...


At present, because of the barriers broken during World War II, there are beyond 2.5 million black armed veterans. And also African-Americans, who make up more than 13% of the United States population, now account for 20% of those that are giving service in the military. African-Americans and Non- Combat Jobs

All through the war years, the segregation practices of civilian life had been spilling all the way over into the military. Furthermore, the draft during that time was segregated and more frequently than not Black Americans were passed over by draft boards that were all-white. However, pressure that came from the NAACP led President Roosevelt to vow that African-Americans would be enlisted as stated by their proportion in the population. Even though this proportion, 10.6%, was never in point of fact accomplished in the services throughout the war, African-American statistics grew intensely in the Army Air Force, Marine Corps, Army, Navy, and the Coast Guard.

Despite the fact most African-Americans that were serving at the start of WWII were appointed to non-combat units and downgraded to service duties, for instance supply, maintenance, and transportation, their work behind front lines was similarly fundamental to the war power. Many drove for the well-known "Red Ball Express," which was able to carry a half million tons of supplies to the progressing first and Third Armies all the way through France (Bennie J. McRae 2013). By 1945, nevertheless, troop losses nearly forced the military to start putting more African-American soldiers into places as pilots, infantrymen, pilots, tankers, doctors, and officers in rising amounts. In all ranks and positions, they were served with as much distinction, honor, and courage as any American soldier was able to do. Still, African-American MPs that are stationed all over the South often could not even go into eating places where their German prisoners of war were being given a meal.

First General: Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.

When it came to breaking barriers, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was able to do just that. Davis became Commanding General of 4th Brigade, 2nd Cavalry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas, in January 1941 (Williams 2014). Nearly six months later, Benjamin was then appointed to Washington, D.C. As an associate in the Administrative center of the Inspector General. Even though serving in the Office of the Inspector General, Davis likewise functioned on the Advice-giving Committee on Negro Troop Strategies. From 1941 to 1944, Benjamin led examination tours of African-American militaries in the United States Military. From October to November 1943 and then another time from August to December 1945, Davis made examination trips of Black-American soldiers that were stationed in Europe.

On October 10, 1944, Benjamin was reallocated to work under a well-known general as Special Assistant to the Commanding General, Communications Zone, and European Theater of Operations (Taylor 1913). Benjamin work for the General Inspectorate Part, European Theater of Operation from December all the way through June 1945. Benjamin was a man that changed the game for black males, because while he was serving in the European Theater of Operations, Davis was significant in the projected policy of integration utilizing replacement units.

Howard Perry

Previous to 1942, recruit African-Americans, American Indians or other minorities were not even on the radar of other Marine Corps when it came to letting them in. however that all changed when Franklin D. Roosevelt's production of the Fair Employment Practices Directive in 1941 systematized the Corps, to start bringing in Black American Marines. Also, the Marine Corps' initial black recruits would persist to obtain segregated working out drills until 1949. With that being said, Howard P. Perry was the first Black-American to sign up in the U.S. Marine Corps, after the Marine Corps altered its 100-desirable year's strategy, June 1, 1942. Perry reached to Montford Point on August 27th, 1944, and in October he and 119 other soldiers that were black went through the difficult procedure of becoming Marines (Miles 2005). These troops had the luxury of being able to be trained under the same values as their white colleagues, nevertheless the trainees were not permitted to cross the threshold of Camp Lejeune without a white person bringing them in. When boot camp was over, they were shipped to combat zones, and most of the time, it was somewhere far out in the Pacific, in all African-American units.

Doris Miller: "The Hero"

Doris Miller was recognized as being a cook in the United States Navy that was noted for his courageousness throughout the attack on Pearl Harbor which took place on December 7, 1941. Miller was known as being the first African-American to be presented the Navy…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bennie J. McRae, Jr. African-Americans in World War II. December 9, 2013. / (accessed April 18, 2014).

Charleen E. Mcgee, Ph.D. Smith. "Tuskegee Airman: The Biography of Charles E. McGee, Air Force Fighter Combat Record Holder ." 1-204. New York: Branden Pub Co; 2nd edition, 2014.

Miles, Johnnie H. "Educator's Sourcebook of African-American Heritage (Book of Lists)." 1-456. New York: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition, 2005.

Nalty, Bernard C. THE RIGHT TO FIGHT: African-American Marines in World War II. October 8, 2013. (accessed April 18, 2014).
Taylor, Clarence. Patriotism Crosses the Color Line: African-Americans in World War II. March 6, 1913. (accessed April 18, 2014).
Williams, Rudi. African-Americans Gain Fame as World War II Red Ball Express Drivers. April 5, 2014. (accessed April 18, 2014).

Cite this Document:

"Blacks Break The Barriers" (2014, April 22) Retrieved June 3, 2023, from

"Blacks Break The Barriers" 22 April 2014. Web.3 June. 2023. <>

"Blacks Break The Barriers", 22 April 2014, Accessed.3 June. 2023,

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