The Black Soldier: 1492 to the Present

Overview

Black soldiers have fought and died in the Americas for centuries, forming a chain of warriors stretching back nearly 500 years. Yet their contribution to our nation’s history has been neglected, and the battles they’ve had to fight against racism and prejudice have often been as challenging as facing the enemy on the field of battle.
This exciting story of African-American heroism traces the history of the black soldier, from the African explorers who accompanied Columbus to ...

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Overview

Black soldiers have fought and died in the Americas for centuries, forming a chain of warriors stretching back nearly 500 years. Yet their contribution to our nation’s history has been neglected, and the battles they’ve had to fight against racism and prejudice have often been as challenging as facing the enemy on the field of battle.
This exciting story of African-American heroism traces the history of the black soldier, from the African explorers who accompanied Columbus to African Americans who took up arms in the American Revolution, the Civil War, and Desert Storm. These tales of heroism show young readers that while black soldiers were once systematically ignored within the armed forces, earning little praise and often dying for a nation that granted them few rights, black men and women rose to the occasion and distinguished themselves with each successive opportunity to prove themselves in combat and in the ranks. Ultimately, the sacrifices of these valiant soldiers led to today’s fully integrated armed services.

Chronicles the military accomplishments of African Americans who fought for the independence and preservation of the United States while struggling to be treated as equals and recognized for their valor and achievement.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Clinton has found a story that needs to be told, and she tells it with energy and conviction. . . . A heartening account of triumph over adversity."—Booklist (9/15/00) Booklist, ALA

The Bulletin (10/00) The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Clinton chronicles the fascinating story of he valiant contributions of African-American men and women. . . . Short chapters, lively narration, and a detailed index make this an easy book for students to use for reports. Its subject matter is an important and often neglected part of American history."—Kirkus Reviews (7/1/00) Kirkus Reviews

"Clinton’s historical chronology of African-American participation in American wars shows the harsh realities and suffering that black soldiers faced both on the front lines and at home."—School Library Journal (10/00) School Library Journal

VOYA
This social history presents the triumphs and struggles of African Americans in the military. Clinton describes the various barriers that kept some blacks out of the military as well as the discrimination faced within the ranks. At the same time she highlights the heroic achievements of many people, from the Moroccan explorer Estavan in the sixteenth century up to General Colin Powell. Some of these, such as Benjamin O. Davis and his son, emerge as important figures whose accomplishments inspired positive change. Others, such as Joe Anderson, a Vietnam War hero, serve as lesser-known examples of the many untold accomplishments of African American soldiers. The shift from broad discussions of wars and politics to specific anecdotes about individuals is abrupt at times. The beginning of the World War II chapter, for instance, jumps from one soldier's death at Pearl Harbor, to Roosevelt's declaration of war, to the establishment of the first pilot training school for blacks, before moving back for a general discussion of the roles of blacks in World War II. Overall Clinton succeeds in bringing balanced, multiple perspectives into her history. By looking beyond the battlefield, as when she notes that the American Red Cross segregated black and white blood until 1963, the author shows how the views of society and government trends affected and were affected by military policies. This book is a solid introduction to an intriguing topic. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J S (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2000, Houghton Mifflin,118p, Index, Photos, Source Notes. Ages 12 to 18. Reviewer: Steven Engelfried VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
Children's Literature
This book traces the history of black soldiers in America from the time of the conquistadors to the present. Brief biographical sketches of black military heroes, both well-known and obscure, help personalize the account of the rise of African Americans from slavery and second-class citizenship to the top ranks of today's military hierarchy. A useful addition to the middle and high school curriculum, the book provides readers with an excellent overview of United States history as perceived through its conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the Persian Gulf War. The struggle of African-Americans to obtain their civil rights in both the military and society at large is also described in the informative and well-written text. Illustrations consist of black-and-white photographs reprinted from various archival collections. 2000, Houghton Mifflin. Ages 10 up. Reviewer: Joyce Schwartz
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Clinton's historical chronology of African-American participation in American wars shows the harsh realities and suffering that black soldiers faced both on the front lines and at home. Beginning with the Africans who accompanied European explorers to the New World, the book continues with accounts of black participation in the French and Indian Wars, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Chapters on the Buffalo Soldiers, the Spanish-American War, World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War complete the volume. The famed Tuskegee Airmen and individuals such as Crispus Attucks, Benjamin Davis Sr., and Colin Powell are included. The clear text is embellished by frequent, well-chosen, though undocumented quotes. Chapters are brief and accessible and filled with relevant historical facts, making the book suitable for reports and for casual readers. Selected sources and a substantial index are appended. Numerous black-and-white archival photographs and reproductions appear throughout this well-organized, readable resource.-Daniel Mungai, Queens Borough Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Clinton (I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry, 1998, etc.) tells the history of black soldiers who fought for their country and struggled for equality in the armies in which they fought. Beginning with the Africans who accompanied European explorers in the Americas, Clinton details the exploits of African-American men whose names have been lost but whose deeds were recorded in historical accounts of the times in which they served. Some men fought as slaves with their masters, others fought to win their own freedom. In every period of American history, and in every conflict in which American soldiers fought, blacks fought, too. Often, black soldiers were bitterly disappointed by the treatment they endured. Encouraged to enlist during the War of 1812, they were commended for fighting well, but were refused admittance in the peacetime army of 1820. Segregation and unfair treatment persisted until 1948, when President Truman issued an executive order for equality for all people in the Armed Services. Writing chronologically, Clinton covers every era of American history. She chronicles the fascinating story of the valiant contributions of African-American men and women, their struggles to win equity, and the positive outcome of that struggle in today's military organization. Black-and-white illustrations and photographs add interest to the text. Short chapters, lively narration, and a detailed index make this an easy book for students to use for reports. Its subject matter is an important and often neglected part of American history. (Nonfiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395677223
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/28/2000
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.50 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.31 (d)

Meet the Author

Catherine Clinton earned her undergraduate degree in Afro-American studies from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in history from Princeton. She is the author of many historical works for children and adults, including I, TOO, SING AMERICA: THREE CENTURIES OF AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY, and has taught African American Studies at Brandeis University, Brown University, and at Harvard University, where she is a fellow at the Dubois Institute. Dr. Clinton lives in Connecticut with her husband and two sons.

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