Black Sailor, White Navy: Racial Unrest in the Fleet during the Vietnam War Era [NOOK Book]

Overview

It is hard to determine what dominated more newspaper headlines in America during the 1960s and early ‘70s: the Vietnam War or America’s turbulent racial climate. Oddly, however, these two pivotal moments are rarely examined in tandem.

John Darrell Sherwood has mined the archives of the U.S. Navy and conducted scores of interviews with Vietnam veterans — both black and white — and other military personnel to reveal the full extent of racial unrest in the Navy during the Vietnam ...

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Black Sailor, White Navy: Racial Unrest in the Fleet during the Vietnam War Era

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Overview

It is hard to determine what dominated more newspaper headlines in America during the 1960s and early ‘70s: the Vietnam War or America’s turbulent racial climate. Oddly, however, these two pivotal moments are rarely examined in tandem.

John Darrell Sherwood has mined the archives of the U.S. Navy and conducted scores of interviews with Vietnam veterans — both black and white — and other military personnel to reveal the full extent of racial unrest in the Navy during the Vietnam War era, as well as the Navy’s attempts to control it. During the second half of the Vietnam War, the Navy witnessed some of the worst incidents of racial strife ever experienced by the American military. Sherwood introduces us to fierce encounters on American warships and bases, ranging from sit-down strikes to major race riots.

The Navy’s journey from a state of racial polarization to one of relative harmony was not an easy one, and Black Sailor, White Navy focuses on the most turbulent point in this road: the Vietnam War era.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814708583
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 360
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


John Darrell Sherwood is an official historian with the U.S. Naval Historical Center. He is the author of Officers in Flight Suits: The Story of American Air Force Fighter Pilots in Korea and Afterburner: Naval Aviators and the Vietnam War, both published by NYU Press. He is also the author of Fast Movers: Aviators and the Vietnam War Experience.

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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     vii
Prologue: Storm Warning     xi
Glossary     xxi
The Black Sailor: Chambermaid to the Braid and Nothing More     1
Racial Unrest Strikes the Army and Marines     16
The Zumwalt Revolution     30
Kitty Hawk: The Pot Begins to Boil     55
Blow Off: The Kitty Hawk Riot     83
More Unrest: The Hassayampa Riot     103
The Sit-down Strike on the Constellation     130
Negotiations with the Protesters: A Comedy of Errors     150
The Hicks Subcommittee Hearings: Questions and Motives     167
Violence on Nearly Every Ship: Race Riots after Constellation     193
The Struggle to Eliminate Bias in the Fleet     227
From Awareness to Affirmation     243
Epilogue     262
Appendix Navy Ranks and Ratings, 1973     271
Notes     275
Bibliography     315
Index     331
About the Author     344
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  • Posted October 16, 2008

    Black Sailor, White Navy: Racial Unrest in the Fleet During the Vietnam Era, By John Darrell Sherwood, Review by Miles Keller, History Major, JMU

    John Darrell Sherwood is an official historian serving at the United States Naval Historical Center. His fields of study extend to Naval Aviators as well as the U.S. Air Force during both Korea and Vietnam, telling the stories of the men who lived through two of the United States¿ most controversial conflicts. In Black Sailor, White Navy: Racial Unrest in the Fleet During the Vietnam War Era, Sherwood addresses the problem of African American strife due to inequality in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He finds that the leadership and the men of the U.S. Navy had to construct their own solutions to the conflicts that arose and most importantly, try to understand their differences so that everyone could serve equally, with dignity and respect.<BR/> Going into Vietnam, the U.S. Navy was a primarily white institution that discouraged the induction of African Americans. Tests were difficult as to discourage all but the brightest of black participants. Blacks were commissioned to lowly jobs in the steward branch that were deemed ¿undesirable for whites.¿ Problems with inequality of work and differences in culture and social standing would result in violence on at first several, and eventually many of the ships in the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. <BR/> Revolts and conflicts in the ranks may have led to a complete paralysis of the Navy. Sherwood looks primarily at how these racial tensions played out on the ships and at naval bases, assessing personal accounts and records to create a valuable narrative. He uses the reports integrated with interviews from specific incidents to illustrate the pressures on African Americans and their subsequent reactions. From the lawlessness and segregation that inspired the Kitty Hawk riot to the racism that sparked violence on Intrepid, Sherwood provides ample evidence with interviews and reports straight from the men who experienced the times. <BR/> After addressing the events that caused these problems to surface, Sherwood follows up by explaining how each issue was dealt with by their respective commanders and how that translated in time to the high command. As riots were put down and men reprimanded, the Navy eventually began a series of reforms under Admiral Zumwalt and later Admiral Holloway that would shape the Navy¿s policies on race relations. At first with minority affairs representatives and later with increased opportunities for black advancement and better working conditions, the Navy created an environment that blacks and whites could both benefit from. <BR/> Sherwood¿s book Black Sailor, White Navy is an effective narrative for understanding the racial tensions that may have paralyzed the U.S. Navy during Vietnam. It leaves little to the imagination, with thorough evidence drawn from the Naval archives, interviews, court records, statistics, and demographics. It is an interesting story as well, involving the reader with backgrounds of Zumwalt, Holloway, and many of the minor officers that experienced the unrest firsthand. Sherwood has built a balanced and comprehensive account of the fight for African American equality in the United States Navy.

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