Thursday, February 8, 2018

BHM - African Americans In Times of War: When the Civil War broke out, the union was reluctant to let black soldiers fight at all, citing concerns over white soldiers morale and the respect that black soldiers would feel entitled to when the war ended. But as the union death toll increased the skeptics relented. By wars end almost two hundred thousand black men had enlisted. Unfortunately, less cultural bandwidth had been devoted to what happened to those black troops after the fighting stopped. Few High School or college students, when they learn about military history learn about the lynching of black veterans.

In 1877 when reconstruction ended, black veterans living in Southern states quickly became targets for white violence. White Newspapers spread rumors of black soldiers assaulting white police officers. States across the South prohibited blacks from handling weapons. Compared to those who had not served, former soldiers were disproportionally assaulted, driven from their homes, and in the most extreme cases, lynched in public. In Bardstown in Nelson County, Kentucky, a mob brutally lynched a United States colored troop, stripped of his clothes, beat him and cut off his sexual organs.  He was then forced to run half a mile to a bridge outside of town where his was shot and killed.

After the war, multiple veterans were attacked immediately, often by drivers or fellow passengers on the buses and trains transporting them back to their homes. However, believe it or not, the overall experience of an enlisted black veteran did boost their sense of entitlement to certain rights. So did the more equal treatment they received, during the first and second world wars, from Europeans whom they met while stationed abroad. Often military elevated black soldiers sense of themselves as people more capable of pushing back. It is no coincidence that so many veterans including Hosea Williams and Medgar Evers, went on to play key roles in civil rights organizations.  Historically it was a provocation for black men to wear the uniform and to claim their role.

#BlackHistoryMonthHHC #Sheshereforit 

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