To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African-American WACS Stationed Overseas During World War II [NOOK Book]

Overview

I would have climbed up a mountain to get on the list [to serve overseas]. We were going to do our duty. Despite all the bad things that happened, America was our home. This is where I was born. It was where my mother and father were. There was a feeling of wanting to do your part.
--Gladys Carter, member of the 6888th

To Serve My Country, to Serve my Race is the story of ...

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To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African-American WACS Stationed Overseas During World War II

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Overview

I would have climbed up a mountain to get on the list [to serve overseas]. We were going to do our duty. Despite all the bad things that happened, America was our home. This is where I was born. It was where my mother and father were. There was a feeling of wanting to do your part.
--Gladys Carter, member of the 6888th

To Serve My Country, to Serve my Race is the story of the historic 6888th, the first United States Women's Army Corps unit composed of African-American women to serve overseas.
While African-American men and white women were invited, if belatedly, to serve their country abroad, African-American women were excluded for overseas duty throughout most of WWII. Under political pressure from legislators like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the NAACP, the black press, and even President Roosevelt, the U.S. War Department was forced to deploy African-American women to the European theater in 1945.
African-American women, having succeeded, through their own activism and political ties, in their quest to shape their own lives, answered the call from all over the country, from every socioeconomic stratum. Stationed in France and England at the end of World War II, the 6888th brought together women like Mary Daniel Williams, a cook in the 6888th who signed up for the Army to escape the slums of Cleveland and to improve her ninth-grade education, and Margaret Barnes Jones, a public relations officer of the 6888th, who grew up in a comfortable household with a politically active mother who encouraged her to challenge the system.
Despite the social, political, and economic restrictions imposed upon these African-American women in their own country, they were eager to serve, not only out of patriotism but out of a desire to uplift their race and dispell bigoted preconceptions about their abilities. Elaine Bennett, a First Sergeant in the 6888th, joined because "I wanted to prove to myself and maybe to the world that we would give what we had back to the United States as a confirmation that we were full- fledged citizens."

Filled with compelling personal testimony based on extensive interviews, To Serve My Country is the first book to document the lives of these courageous pioneers. It reveals how their Army experience affected them for the rest of their lives and how they, in turn, transformed the U.S. military forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The deployment of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the only group of black WACs (members of the Women's Army Corps) to serve overseas in WWII, marked a significant turning point in the status of racial minorities and women in the armed forces. Drawing on the testimony of former members of the unit, Moore recounts its formation, training and service in the European theater of operations in 1945-46, highlighting the discrimination the women faced because of their race and gender. Many, as the author shows, campaigned actively to change the race-biased policies of the WACs through boycott and direct protest. She examines what civilian life was like for many of them before they entered the military and the various personal, political and economic reasons that impelled them to join up, then discusses how their military experience influenced their postwar life: ``Although they did not gain materially, these women almost invariably said that they benefitted spiritually for having served.'' Her study is an important contribution to African American and gender studies. Moore, who served six years in the Army, is assistant professor of sociology at SUNY-Buffalo. Illustrations. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Moore, who has served in the U.S. Army, has written a gender and race study about the status of African American women in the army during World War II. Her academic studies led her to note that African American women have been ignored in major studies about World War II, and in this book she tries to remedy the omission. Moore focuses on the 6888th Batallion, which had the only group of African American Women Army Corps (WAC) who served overseas during the war. Of the 855 women who served, Moore interviewed 51 for this book. Appendixes reproduce the questionnaire and give the names of those interviewed. Chapter notes, a bibliography, and photos are also included. Moore makes frequent comparisons to other studies about military veterans. Her scholarly work will serve as a solid contribution about African American women in World War II.-Dorothy Lilly, Grosse Pointe North H.S. Lib., Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich.
Lillian Lewis
African American women were virtually excluded from military service until World War II. They received full military status with the establishment of the WAC, Women's Army Corps, in 1943. The WAC was set up in response to social and political pressures and the "critical need for personnel" during the war. The author relies on interviews with members of the 688th Central Postal Directory battalion, for they were the only African American group to serve overseas. Through a well-wrought investigation, Moore distinguishes the challenges faced by these women in regard to both gender and racial influences, forms a cogent background with historical facts to better present the impact of the WAC on the changing military structure and to list battles and victories of the women, and answers the readers' curiosity with coverage of the social cohesion and conflict within the unit and of the women's lives after military service. Those women still remain in contact with one another and sponsor events celebrating the success and memories of World War II. Moore has made an incredible discovery; this book will make a major contribution to military studies, African American studies, and women studies.
From the Publisher
"This work fills the void that has been created by scholars of military institutions. It represents an original analysis of the experience of women of African descent who served their country in the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Her robust analysis of their feelings, motivations and experience within the military provides the reader with a moving tale of accomplishments of black women during a critical point in the history of the country. Professor Moore's separation of race and gender effects in the book is excellent, and brings out the fact that women of African descent must be seen in their own historical light if one is to understand their unique history. This book makes a significant contribution to military sociology, gender studies, American studies, and race and ethnic relations."

-John Sibley Butler,The University of Texas at Austin, author of Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics

"A rich, comprehensive study."

-Philadelphia New Observer

”A fascinating account of black women in the armed forces in World War II. We are indebted to Brenda Moore for recording this story while these women are still with us. Moore gives powerful new insights for African American studies, gender studies, and military history.”

-Charles Moskos,Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University

"Drawing on the testimony of former members of the unit, Moore recounts its formation, training and service in the European theater of operations in 1945-46, highlighting the discrimination women faced because of their race and gender. . . . An important contribution to African American and gender studies . . . "

-Publishers Weekly

"Moore has made an incredible discovery. This book will be a major contribution to military studies, African American studies, and women's studies."

-Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814761038
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author


Brenda L. Moore is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the State University of New York, Buffalo. A Presidential Appointee to the American Battle Monuments Commission, she served on active duty for six years in the U.S. Army in the United States and Europe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2015

    Mermaid's Habitat

    Their home is in the Ocean. Most mermaids live in Atlantis, but, the other mermaids travel from sea to sea. They also have their own homes in the other oceans, so they don't have to stay in one place. They hate to stay in one place for long. Some mermaids live in beutiful houses, others live in under water caves stuffed with sunken treasure.

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