War! What Is It Good For?: Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq

Overview


African Americans' long campaign for "the right to fight" forced Harry Truman to issue his 1948 executive order calling for equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces. In War! What Is It Good For?, Kimberley Phillips examines how blacks' participation in the nation's wars after Truman's order and their protracted struggles for equal citizenship galvanized a vibrant antiwar activism that reshaped their struggles for freedom.

Using an array of sources--from ...

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War! What Is It Good For? : Black Freedom Struggles and the U.S. Military from World War II to Iraq

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Overview


African Americans' long campaign for "the right to fight" forced Harry Truman to issue his 1948 executive order calling for equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces. In War! What Is It Good For?, Kimberley Phillips examines how blacks' participation in the nation's wars after Truman's order and their protracted struggles for equal citizenship galvanized a vibrant antiwar activism that reshaped their struggles for freedom.

Using an array of sources--from newspapers and government documents to literature, music, and film--and tracing the period from World War II to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Phillips considers how federal policies that desegregated the military also maintained racial, gender, and economic inequalities. Since 1945, the nation's need for military labor, blacks' unequal access to employment, and discriminatory draft policies have forced black men into the military at disproportionate rates. While mainstream civil rights leaders considered the integration of the military to be a civil rights success, many black soldiers, veterans, and antiwar activists perceived war as inimical to their struggles for economic and racial justice and sought to reshape the civil rights movement into an antiwar black freedom movement. Since the Vietnam War, Phillips argues, many African Americans have questioned linking militarism and war to their concepts of citizenship, equality, and freedom.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is an important examination of the connections between military service and the civil rights movement."
-Southern Historian

"Required reading for scholars of the U.S. military and the (so-called) "long civil rights movement."
-American Historical Review

"A well-written volume, one worth reading."—
-Journal of American History

"This work will be indispensable to understanding why so many black men and women serve, and how their service both advances and limits them. Essential. All levels/libraries."
-Choice

"An important new book....Beautifully written, it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in race and war in U.S. History."
-War Time blog

"Phillips delivers a new and refreshing view of the black freedom struggle, and the principal role that black veterans took in integrating the military and then taking the antiwar movement to the mainstream."
-Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Phillips delivers a new and refreshing view of the black freedom struggle, and the principal role that black veterans took in integrating the military and then taking the antiwar movement to the mainstream."
-Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Kimberley L. Phillips's superb book tells the long overdue story of the disproportionate impact of American wars on African Americans and their resistance to this unequal burden. Her expansive catalogue of black artistic engagement with wartime struggles for justice—from the Double V campaign to Baghdad Hip Hop—creates a new groove in the study of American protest culture. The book sounds off beautifully, voicing cries of freedom through the guns of war."—Bill V. Mullen, Purdue University, author of Afro-Orientalism and Popular Fronts: Chicago and African American Cultural Politics, 1935-1946

From the Publisher
"This work will be indispensable to understanding why so many black men and women serve, and how their service both advances and limits them. Essential. All levels/libraries."--Choice

"Will undoubtedly appeal to many scholars of American cultural history and African American history."--Diplomatic History

"A well-written volume, one worth reading."--Journal of American History

"Required reading for scholars of the U.S. military and the (so-called) "long civil rights movement."--American Historical Review

"This book is an important examination of the connections between military service and the civil rights movement."--Southern Historian

"In this smart and moving book, historian Kimberley L. Phillips traces the intertwining of military service and the long civil rights movement even as she explores the often devastating effects of U.S. militarization before and after Jim Crow."--Pacific Historical Review

"Phillips delivers a new and refreshing view of the black freedom struggle, and the principal role that black veterans took in integrating the military and then taking the antiwar movement to the mainstream."--Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"An important new book. . . . Beautifully written, it is essential reading for anyone with an interest in race and war in U.S. History."--War Time blog

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Product Details

Meet the Author


Kimberley L. Phillips is the Frances L. and Edwin L. Cummings Associate Professor of History at the College of William and Mary.
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Table of Contents


African Americans' long campaign for "the right to fight" forced Harry Truman to issue his 1948 executive order calling for equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed forces. Kimberley Phillips examines how blacks' participation in the nation's wars after Truman's order and their protracted struggles for equal citizenship galvanized a vibrant antiwar activism that reshaped their struggles for freedom.
Read More Show Less

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