Racial segregation in the United States troops has been evident since a long time ago. America has been having a history of banning blacks and other individuals of color from taking an active role in the armed forces. However, every branch of the armed forces been having independent history and policies regarding racial segregation. During the Second World War, the armed forces needed more individuals and recruited black people to train in the Tuskegee Airmen program as pilots. This indicates that black people have come a long way though they have significantly been involved in protecting the country like the Tuskegee Airmen who overcame challenges of rampant racial violence and discrimination in the United States military.
The primary source is a photo by Tuskegee Airmen, which serves as a source of first-hand information about black people’s role in the army. The picture indicates the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first black American military in the armed forces. Though the American armed forces were racially segregated, the Tuskegee Airmen emerged and had an active role in the army regardless of being subjected to racial discrimination. They were able to overcome these challenges and flew with distinctions. The black of the military were all trained in the American training station at Tuskegee1. Evidence reveals that the Tuskegee 332nd Fighter Group was the only operational unit sent overseas and very successful. Therefore, regardless of the many challenges experienced by black people, the group became heroes and symbolizes the black people’s success and ability.
The Tuskegee Airmen had a great legacy, regardless of the racial segregation that was experienced in America before the Second World War. Moreover, the primary source is in the context of the Second World War. The image presents eight Tuskegee Airmen who seem to be proud of their role. Before the Second World War, there were few if any black men allowed into the United States army. At the time, most military establishments believed black soldiers were inferior to whites, and their performance was poor in combat. Therefore, the establishment of the group by 1941 by the U.S. War Department was a great victory to lack people. However, the unit had to fight the enemy abroad in addition to racism at home. The source expresses a happy tone. Before creating the team, the Jim Crow laws, a series of racist legislation that led to the enforcement of “separate but equal” treatment of black people, were in use. The law blocked all opportunities for black people and African American soldiers to be pilots. However, the black people had something to celebrate since black military pilots were trained, and there was the establishment of Moton Field and nearby Tuskegee Army Air Field, which acted as a base for black training pilots. Similarly, the black pilots indicated in the image have something to celebrate due to their overseas aerial combat success and their contribution to the desegregation of base facilities and the armed forces. Evidence revealed that their contribution resulted in the ending of segregation in the United States army.
During the Second World War, there was rampant racial violence and discrimination in the United States military, where black Americans who served in the Second World War faced segregation. Regardless of black men being successful in fighting against racism, war segregation persisted in the armed forces2. Whites argued that black men could not be persistent and patriotic enough to fight in the war, regardless of African Americans showing a willingness to join the armed forces. Jim Crow discrimination in society persisted and limited black people’s ability to be absorbed into active armed forces. Jim Crow believed that African Americans were not fit for leadership positions in combat. Thus they were neglected in the service units.
Though African American soldiers had participated in each essential U.S. conflict, including the Revolutionary War, black people were initially confined to menial roles, including mechanics, cooks, and builders. This was because black people were perceived as coward, superstitious, and mentally inferior. Therefore, African Americans were restricted from flying in the United States Army Air Corps. Evidence revealed that the black was not allowed into the air force airplane cockpit. However, in 1941 there was an announcement for an all-black fighter pilot sector that was to be trained at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. After creating all-black training sites, it became evident that the black troops were very successful in their combat, and soon, they were heroes.
In conclusion, people of color have struggled to join the American armed forces, and when given opportunities like in the Tuskegee Airmen training, they were able to successfully perform their roles regardless of the rampant racial discrimination and violence in the army. The United States army exhibited a lot of discrimination, especially against black people, and most black people were limited to manual jobs in the military, such as cooking and building. The primary source exhibits the Tuskegee Airmen who have successfully been absorbed in the army and show a happy tone. After a long history of discrimination, they should be glad to join the army and take active roles. Among the limitation of joining the war was the Jim Crow legislation, which made black people treated differently and perceived as people who were unable to take an active role in the army. However, regardless of the long history of black people being discriminated against, by 1941, there was a great success, and an all-black fighter pilot sector was formed. The black troops were very successful in their combat.
White, Deborah Gray, Mia Bay, and Waldo E. Martin. Freedom on My Mind, Volume 2: A History of African Americans, with Documents. Vol. 2. Bedford/st Martins, 2012.
MacLean, Alair, and Glen H. Elder Jr. “Military service in the life course.” Annual review of sociology 33 (2007).
Nalty, Bernard C. Strength for the fight: A history of black Americans in the military. Simon and Schuster, 1989.