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African-American Soldiers in World War II

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When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, America went to war. Everyone, including African-Americans, wanted to be a part of the American Armed forces. Throughout the years of the war, numerous bills and acts were made in order to get rid of any discrimination problems in the Armed Forces. Furthermore, the whole country heard stories about certain African-Americans or African-American battalions going above and beyond the call of duty. However, the U. S. government did not tell the American public about everything that was going on. Despite the political impressions that America had on the improvement to integrate African-American soldiers into the armed forces, segregation and discrimination were still very much a part of World War II. The Army enjoyed showing every picture of a black soldier in action or the heroic stories of certain African-Americans because there were very few instances. The classic heroic story used entailed the plight of Doris Miller, the African-American messman aboard the West Virginia who, on the invasion of Pearl Harbor, moved ?his mortally wounded captain to a place of great safety? and shot down six Japanese planes with a machine gun (Neverdon-Morton 6). Additionally, the government film, ?The Negro Soldier? depicted the army as though there were many active African-American soldiers, due to the fact that ?the War Department?s policy seems to be to give the greatest possible publicity to those very few Negro units? (Wilson 98). No matter how involved these soldiers appeared to Americans in this movie, Ruth Wilson, author of Jim Crow Joins Up, stated that it ?[?] by no means compensates for the fact that only a very small number of Negroes is being given opportunity for front... ... middle of paper ... ...gation plan, ?However, a year went by with no definite action taken by the navy department for the admittance of Negro women?(92). James Baldwin uncovers a few misconceptions in his essay, ?Notes of a Native Son?, about the discrimination that occurred with in the American Armed Forces during World War II. These misconceptions were not unintentional?the government, to look more political, created these perceptions. The government treated the African Americans unfairly and segregation and discrimination were still not uncommon. Not only were African-Americans rarely let into the army but once in the army they were not given the same opportunities as the other soldiers. This was not only unfair to the African-American soldiers who were willing to put their lives on the line for their country but also for all American citizens who lost their lives in World War II.
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