Racial Segregation In US Forces

Discussion in 'US Units' started by adamcotton, Nov 23, 2005.

  1. spidge


    Sounds like the Australian actor Jack Thompson narrating!


    I remember a story of the Australian troops siding with the black americans against the US soldiers.

    The Australian government on the other hand requested all black american troops be sent to the country or out of the cities. (We had a white Australia policy still in vogue then)
  2. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    BBC World Service - Witness History, Britain's World War Two 'Brown Babies'

    From: Fri 11 Oct 2019

    Britain's World War Two 'Brown Babies'
    Witness History

    The US first began sending troops to the UK in 1942 to help in the war effort. It is estimated that at least two million American servicemen passed through the UK during World War Two and tens of thousands of them were black. The African-American GIs stationed in Britain were forced by the American military to abide by the racial segregation laws that applied in the deep south of the US. But that didn't stop relationships developing between British women and the black soldiers, some of whom went on to have children. Babs Gibson-Ward was one those children. She has been speaking to Farhana Haider about the stigma of growing up as mixed raced child in post-war Britain.

    (Photo: Hoinicote House children, c.1948. Boys and girls whose parents of mixed ancestry met during WWII. Credit: Lesley York)

    Chris C likes this.
  3. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    One of those subjects that cannot be properly understood by confining it to WW2. What happened then was conditioned by WW1 when there was strong opposition, mainly from the South, to using African Americans in combat roles or even training them in the use of modern weapons. They were to be used in labouring work. In the event combat units were formed and saw action but apart from the main US Army - attached to elements of the French Army and wearing Adrian helmets etc. Even then there was a reluctance to train them in certain weapons - machine guns for example - ostensibly on the grounds that they lacked mechanical aptitude but probably because the South still had lingering fears of Black uprisings after the war. Their actions were very much under reported and medal citations often got 'lost' in the system. However if you search on terms like The role of the African American in the Great War you can find some detailed histories in free PDF books
    They brought Jazz to Europe - many Afro American battalions having their own bands.
    This living and fighting separately culture carried on into WW2. Before the first Afro American units were sent to Europe the US Army demanded that the British authorities established official colour bars on pubs and cinemas etc. This was met with an emphatic **** Off although doubtless in slightly more diplomatic terms so whilst there doubtless were some pea brained landlords who applied their own there wasn't an official one. In fact discrimination was possibly much less in war time Britain than it became post war. Matters were possibly helped by the arrival of a couple of thousand West Indian volunteers for the RAF which applied no form of segregation so that some bomber crews had a West Indian on board (including pilots). One of the pilots that flew off HMS Argus to support Malta was West Indian. Another factor was that even Afro American servicemen would have more money in their pockets than Commonwealth soldiers and even the most microcephalic pub landlord knows not to turn cash away. Interestingly the Germans seem to have made no attempt to treat West Indian RAF personnel shot down and captured any differently from other RAF NCOs and Officers.
    Chris C likes this.
  4. Ramiles

    Ramiles Researching 9th Lancers, 24th L and SRY

    Witness History - Black GIs during World War Two - BBC Sounds

    Released On: 16 Dec 2019 - 9 mins audio
    Available for over a year
    For much of World War Two African-American soldiers were relegated to support roles and kept away from the fighting. But after the Allies suffered huge losses during the Battle of the Bulge, they were called on to volunteer for combat. Janet Ball has been speaking Reverend Matthew Southall Brown who saw action in Europe towards the end of the war. He fought in the US Army's 9th Division, 60th Regiment, Company E. Photograph:Volunteer combat soldiers from the 9th Division prepare for shipment to front lines in Germany. Credit: US Government Archives.


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