This overview explores the use of black people, either through coercion or enticement, in the armed forces of predominantly white societies in times of crisis when the supply of white soldiers was exhausted or when whites refused to fill the ranks of a wartime army. A chronological review, the study begins with references to Biblical armies and ends with the technological environment of the modern world, looking at how blacks were employed, exploited or rewarded for their service over the centuries. While the balance sheet is mixed, military institutions have proven to be leaders in integration and equality for blacks both in the United States and in Europe. Inequality still exists in the modern American military; however, the authors contend, it is more likely to be based upon educational disparities than on the color of a soldier's skin.
African American soldiers played a significant role in the creation and expansion of the United States. The authors write about conquistadors who utilized blacks as soldier slaves. They recount the stories of the black men who fought during the Revolutionary War. They detail the experience of the Buffalo Soldiers in securing and protecting the western wilderness and follow the black soldier fighting alongside Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. From the decks of the battleship ^IMaine^R to the Philippine Islands, from the hills of Vietnam and the deserts of the Middle East, and, finally, to the all-volunteer army, this book reveals the impact that black soldiers have made on American history.
About the Author:
William E. Alt (Col. Ret. USAF) is a member of the Air Force Association and the Retired Officers Association, and is a past president and current member of the Colorado State Soil Conservation Board.
Betty L. Alt is a lecturer in sociology at the University of Southern Colorado. Her publications include Uncle Sam's Brides (1990), Campfollowing (1991), Weeping Violins (1996), Slaughter in Cell House 3 (1997) and Wicked Women (2001).