Soul Soldier Proposal

The Vietnam war is seen as the most unjust war in American history because of the reasons why Americans were there, how the draft was used to recruit young men to be sent to fight in foreign soil and the repercussions of speaking out against it. African-American could relate to the Vietnamese due to the inequality from the dominant white society, especially since blacks have been fighting for their rights in recent years. Although young African-Americans gained much ground in the fight for equality in the late 1960’s, nevertheless the African-American voice was not heard by the government during the Vietnam War because the media spoke about the as a good alternative for blacks, blacks had very little representation in the drafting boards and they were racially abused in Vietnam by their peers. Although small and far in between, there were cases of growing cooperation of blacks and white against Vietnam, where those who participated saw each other as equals.

To prove my thesis I will use primary sources to show the hardships that were seen at the time and the secondary sources is an accumulation from veterans that sheds light to their struggles. The primary sources I found can be split into two categories; images and newspaper articles. The articles show positive and negative views on the treatment of African-Americans because of the Vietnam. An article named “Vietnam Ratio Reported High For Negroes,” by the Chicago Daily Defender explains the higher percentage of African Americans in the war as a good means for them to move up the ranks. Another article by Jack Jones spoke of the failed attempt of two black young men fighting against them getting drafted. The young men spoke of the injustice that they face voids the government from asking them to fight, that they are “not citizens of the United States but colonial subjects thereof.” When seeing this, questions do come in mind like; why do they suggest that blacks suffer less discrimination in the service instead of changing their conditions at home? Are urban city views, like Chicago, more discriminatory because of the high volume of black populations? Why didn’t the government enforce new laws and don’t their claims have enough truth to be closely looked at?

When I searched for secondary sources I found a heavy number speaking of the African-American veterans of the Vietnam War, the Soul Soldiers. New articles spoke injustices that Blacks had to face during their training and even in Vietnam. This shows the severity of the situation when Soul Soldiers had to depend on racists with their lives. I used other sources for the images that it offers, since the text is a broad view of African-Americans in Vietnam.

To present to a general audience, I want to create a website to view the unheard voices of African-American. I would split the website into at least four categories; Home, Newspaper Articles, Gallery, and Soul Soldiers. The Homepage will allow me to introduce the website’s purpose and provide background on the topic and the research involved. I can also use the Homepage as my platform to give my thesis. The Newspaper Article will give a feel of the time. I will also draw important quotes and give a breakdown of the articles. The Gallery will show mostly either the protests of blacks against the Vietnam War or images of Soul Soldiers. Each will come with a description and tags. Lastly, I will use the Soul Soldiers page as a memoriam and their legacy. I would also like to add more categories as I search for further more sources.

From my research, I hope to draw questions on the success of the American Government had on actually backing laws for equality and see intentions, ignorances or maneuvers officials used against African-Americans. African-Americans were more involved to the end of the Vietnam War because they protest side by side with whites. They justified their stance of asking for equality if they are to fight for their country. I want to shed light on the right for minorities in general to question what is asked from their government.

Bibliography

Boulton, Mark. How the G.I. Bill Failed African-American Vietnam War Veterans The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education no. 58. 57-60.

Draft Refusal Drive is Urged on Negroes as Vietnam Protest New York Time. New York: May 28, 1967.

Hill, Gladwin. Dr. King Advocates Quitting Vietnam. New York Times. New York: Feb 26, 1967

Loeb, Jeff. MIA: African American autobiography of the Vietnam war. African American Review 31, no. 1. 1997 105.

Jones, Jack. Federal Judge Rules Against Two Negroes Fighting Draft Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles: Oct 12, 1966.

Terry, L. Wirick. Fighting on Two Fronts: African Americans and the Vietnam War Library Journal 122, no. 5. Mar 15, 1997. 74-75.

THE BLACK SCHOLAR INTERVIEWS: MUHAMMAD ALi  Black Scholar 42, no. 2 14-21.

THE SILENT MINORITY IN VIETNAM Sacramento Observer Sacramento: Nov 27, 1969.

Soul Soldiers Honors Unsung Heroes of Vietnam Era Call & Post, Nov, 2006.

Soul Soldiers: African Americans in the Vietnam Era ed. Samuel W. Baker. Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, November 13, 2006.

Stanley, Bruce. US Veteran Reconciles with Vietnam, Still Angry at Army Racism New York Beacon, Jun 17, 1994.

Vietnam Ratio Reported High for Negroes Chicago Daily Defender.  Chicago: Jan 11, 1967.

Wallace. Criticism and Evasion of Draft Grow with Unpopularity of the Vietnam War New York Times. New York: May 14, 1969.

1 Comment


  1. I am looking forward to this project. I did my 301 paper on Agent Orange, so if you need any info or sources on that I can definitely look at my bibliography for the paper and get you some.

    Reply

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