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THE BLACK SOLDIER by Catherine Clinton


1492 to the Present

by Catherine Clinton

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-395-67722-X
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Clinton (I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry, 1998, etc.) tells the history of black soldiers who fought for their country and struggled for equality in the armies in which they fought. Beginning with the Africans who accompanied European explorers in the Americas, Clinton details the exploits of African-American men whose names have been lost but whose deeds were recorded in historical accounts of the times in which they served. Some men fought as slaves with their masters, others fought to win their own freedom. In every period of American history, and in every conflict in which American soldiers fought, blacks fought, too. Often, black soldiers were bitterly disappointed by the treatment they endured. Encouraged to enlist during the War of 1812, they were commended for fighting well, but were refused admittance in the peacetime army of 1820. Segregation and unfair treatment persisted until 1948, when President Truman issued an executive order for equality for all people in the Armed Services. Writing chronologically, Clinton covers every era of American history. She chronicles the fascinating story of the valiant contributions of African-American men and women, their struggles to win equity, and the positive outcome of that struggle in today’s military organization. Black-and-white illustrations and photographs add interest to the text. Short chapters, lively narration, and a detailed index make this an easy book for students to use for reports. Its subject matter is an important and often neglected part of American history. (Nonfiction. 10-14)