Fighting for Democracy: Black Veterans and the Struggle Against White Supremacy in the Postwar South

Fighting for Democracy: Black Veterans and the Struggle Against White Supremacy in the Postwar South

by Christopher S. Parker
     
 

ISBN-10: 0691140049

ISBN-13: 9780691140049

Pub. Date: 08/17/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

Fighting for Democracy shows how the experiences of African American soldiers during World War II and the Korean War influenced many of them to challenge white supremacy in the South when they returned home. Focusing on the motivations of individual black veterans, this groundbreaking book explores the relationship between military service and political

Overview

Fighting for Democracy shows how the experiences of African American soldiers during World War II and the Korean War influenced many of them to challenge white supremacy in the South when they returned home. Focusing on the motivations of individual black veterans, this groundbreaking book explores the relationship between military service and political activism. Christopher Parker draws on unique sources of evidence, including interviews and survey data, to illustrate how and why black servicemen who fought for their country in wartime returned to America prepared to fight for their own equality.

Parker discusses the history of African American military service and how the wartime experiences of black veterans inspired them to contest Jim Crow. Black veterans gained courage and confidence by fighting their nation's enemies on the battlefield and racism in the ranks. Viewing their military service as patriotic sacrifice in the defense of democracy, these veterans returned home with the determination and commitment to pursue equality and social reform in the South. Just as they had risked their lives to protect democratic rights while abroad, they risked their lives to demand those same rights on the domestic front.

Providing a sophisticated understanding of how war abroad impacts efforts for social change at home, Fighting for Democracy recovers a vital story about black veterans and demonstrates their distinct contributions to the American political landscape.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691140049
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
08/17/2009
Series:
Princeton Studies in American Politics: Historical, International, and Comparative Perspectives Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix
Preface and Ac knowledgments xi

INTRODUCTION 1
Military Ser vice and Insurgency 5
Recasting Military Service and Resistance 9
Theory and Method 12
Broader Contributions 13
Plan of the Book 15

CHAPTER 1. War, Military Ser vice, and the Prospect for Change: A Glance at History 18
The Promise of Military Service in the Early American Republic 20
Diminishing Returns and Increasing Militancy, 1876- 1918 29
Fighting on Two Fronts Twice: World War II and the Korean War 40

CHAPTER 2: Military Service and Resistance: Toward a Theory of Black Republicanism 60
The Citizen- Soldier Ideal 62
The Symbolism of Military Ser vice 67
Military Ser vice as a Symbolic Experience 69
Sketching a Belief System for Black Veterans 73
Black Republicanism Defined 79

CHAPTER 3: Taking the Crooked with the Straight: The Pros and Cons of African American Military Experience during the 1940s and'50s 88
A Description of the Data 90
The Crooked: Negative Aspects of Black Veterans’ Military Experiences 92
The Straight: Positive Aspects of Black Veterans’ Military Experiences 99
Donning the Uniform 107

CHAPTER 4: When Jim Crow Meets Uncle Sam: The Veteran Returns to Dixie 112
White Domination in the 1950s 114
Framing the Meaning of Military Ser vice and Black Republicanism 116
Black Republicanism and National Identification 118
Black Republicanism and Citizenship 122
Expectations of Racial Progress: Service and Sacrifice 127
A Source of Republican Criticism: Military Ser vice and Entitlement 132
From Criticism to Activism 137

CHAPTER 5: Exploring the Attitudinal Consequences of African American Military Experience 145
Black Veterans’ Attitudes toward Southern Traditionalism: Resisting the Status Quo 148
Black Veterans and the Role of the State 157
A Hard Case: Black Veterans’ Attitudes toward Segregation 162

CHAPTER 6: Dying to Participate: Political Participation as a Form of Protest 174
Impediments to Black Political Participation in the South 177
Explaining Black Political Participation in the South 179
Political Participation and Risk: Voting versus
Political Activism 181
Modeling Voting and Nonvoting Activism 187
Conclusion: Taps for Jim Crow in the Postwar South 196
Principal Findings 198
The Implications of Fighting for Democracy 203
Future Directions 209

APPENDIX A: Study Description, Coding, Question Wording, and Other Estimates from Chapters 5 and 6 210
Appendix B: Content Analysis of the Chicago Defender 217
Appendix C: Interview Methodology and Material 226
Appendix D: Profi les of Selected Black Veteran Activists 231
References 235
Index 255

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