Page Updated Tuesday, July 26, 2005
The War to end all wars was no more than another war. From the beginning of time there have been an unbroken string of wars. Name your Era and there is someone like Alexander the Great that seeks to rule over all others. The United States of America has proven to be no different than any other nation. Wars over words remains the foreign and domestic policies that influence most global governments. It is MIGHT that establishes RIGHT, just as it is the VICTOR that write the history. It is that history, and its inaccuracies, that causes the problem.
Black men fought in every war, without exception, declared and un-declared, that the United States of America had any involvement in. Not only did these men serve, and many gave up their lives, but many others were acknowledged for their courage.
Starting with the French-Indian Wars of Colonial America black soldiers responded to the bugle call. It is well documented that blacks participated in both fights at Lexington and Concord during the first hours of the American Revolution, and many served for the full eight years that passed before there was peace. During the War of 1812, black participation is without dispute. Blacks, both slave and free, fought at the Battle of New Orleans that brought Andrew Jackson the popularity that carried him into the White House. Two thousand blacks men, under of the guidance of Richard Allen, defended Philadelphia against British troops while Washington D.C. burned. Black soldiers also fought on both sides during the Civil War, and were well represented in the troops that policed the western frontier. During the Mexican War and Spanish American War black soldiers fell on the battlefield. The Harlem Hellfighters, an all black regiment, fought with distinction during World War I, and were the first allied soldiers to enter Germany. During World War II blacks repeatedly displayed true courage as they set records that remain valid today. One example are those black pilots that earned the distinction of protecting U.S. bombers without the loss of a single bomber to fighter aircraft. It was Dorie Miller, a black sailor, who shot down four Japanese planes during the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. During the Korean Conflict, black soldiers, now serving in an integrated army, froze on the battlefields as did their comrades. When U.S. forces landed in Vietnam, an undeclared war that spanned eight years, black men and women were amongst their ranks as they were during the invasions into Panama and Granada. For certain their was black participation in Desert Storm besides Colin Powell there was my son, Stefan A. Morgan, that served. And today it remains the same, just as blacks remain second class citizens in the land they have shed so much blood for.
The Harlem Hellfighters
U.S. History can sometimes be mind boggling in its hypocrisy. Every war, from the American Revolution to World War II, blacks had to lobby for the right to fight. In was so during the early days of World War I when white America was not at all comfortable with the thought of black men armed with weapons, and trained to use them. However, after much effort on the part of Negro leaders, the Harlem Hellfighters, really the 15th New York National Guard, later renamed the 369th Infantry, was the first to fight for America during this first global conflict. Ironically these black Americans fought wearing French helmets and waving French flags. The only time in U.S. History that any American force served under the command of foreign officers. Commanded by Frenchmen, and later U.S. officers, this unit racked up battlefield statistics that have never been matched by any combat unit since. The regiment never lost a single soldier to capture by the enemy. These brothers hung together like glue. A lesson that needs to be re-learned today.
Other black men served with the French. Eugene Bullard joined the French Army during the early years of the war. He was assigned to the infantry where he fought with distinction, and was wounded several times. Later he transferred to the air corps where he became the first African-American fighter pilot. His life is the subject of a book worth reading, The Black Swallow of Death, and there is a tribute to him in, The Lafayette Flying Corps. Bullard remained in France after the war, but was forced to flee in 1940 when the Nazi's became aware of his activities with the French Resistance.
Eugene Bullard ... First Black Fighter Pilot
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