Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Jim Crow, Meet Lieutenant Robinson: A 1944 Court-Martial

By John Vernon

If the United States does not win this war, the lot of the Negro is going to be far, far worse than it is today. Yet there is . . . an alarmingly large percentage of Negroes in and out of the Army who do not seem to be vitally concerned about winning the war.
—Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy, Washington, DC, 1942

We are treated like wild animals . . . like we are inhuman. . . . The word Negro is never used here, all they call us are nigger do this, nigger that. Even the officers here are calling us nigger.
—Anonymous black soldiers, Jackson (Mississippi) Air Base, 1942

As Allied troops continued their drive into the heart of Europe a month after the D-day landing in 1944, an incident that would provide a preview of post–World War II events in America was unfolding in Texas.

A young African American Army officer attached to an all-black unit at Camp Hood was subjected to a general court-martial—for resisting usual southern protocol and refusing to move to the back of the bus on the military post when directed by the driver to do so.

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Jim Crow, Meet Lieutenant Robinson: A 1944 Court-Martial

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