To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race: The Story of the Only African-American WACS Stationed Overseas During World War II (Hardback)Brenda L. Moore (author)
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I would have climbed up a mountain to get on the list [to serve overseas]. We were going to do our duty. Despite all the bad things that happened, America was our home. This is where I was born. It was where my mother and father were. There was a feeling of wanting to do your part.
--Gladys Carter, member of the 6888th
To Serve My Country, to Serve my Race is the story of the historic 6888th, the first United States Women's Army Corps unit composed of African-American women to serve overseas.
While African-American men and white women were invited, if belatedly, to serve their country abroad, African-American women were excluded for overseas duty throughout most of WWII. Under political pressure from legislators like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the NAACP, the black press, and even President Roosevelt, the U.S. War Department was forced to deploy African-American women to the European theater in 1945.
African-American women, having succeeded, through their own activism and political ties, in their quest to shape their own lives, answered the call from all over the country, from every socioeconomic stratum. Stationed in France and England at the end of World War II, the 6888th brought together women like Mary Daniel Williams, a cook in the 6888th who signed up for the Army to escape the slums of Cleveland and to improve her ninth-grade education, and Margaret Barnes Jones, a public relations officer of the 6888th, who grew up in a comfortable household with a politically active mother who encouraged her to challenge the system.
Despite the social, political, and economic restrictions imposed upon these African-American women in their own country, they were eager to serve, not only out of patriotism but out of a desire to uplift their race and dispell bigoted preconceptions about their abilities. Elaine Bennett, a First Sergeant in the 6888th, joined because "I wanted to prove to myself and maybe to the world that we would give what we had back to the United States as a confirmation that we were full- fledged citizens."
Filled with compelling personal testimony based on extensive interviews, To Serve My Country is the first book to document the lives of these courageous pioneers. It reveals how their Army experience affected them for the rest of their lives and how they, in turn, transformed the U.S. military forever.
Publisher: New York University Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 544 g
Dimensions: 229 x 153 x 25 mm
"Moore has made an incredible discovery. This book will be a major contribution to military studies, African American studies, and women's studies."-Booklist
"Drawing on the testimony of former members of the unit, Moore recounts its formation, training and service in the European theater of operations in 1945-46, highlighting the discrimination women faced because of their race and gender. . . . An important contribution to African American and gender studies . . . "-Publishers Weekly
"This work fills the void that has been created by scholars of military institutions. It represents an original analysis of the experience of women of African descent who served their country in the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Her robust analysis of their feelings, motivations and experience within the military provides the reader with a moving tale of accomplishments of black women during a critical point in the history of the country. Professor Moore's separation of race and gender effects in the book is excellent, and brings out the fact that women of African descent must be seen in their own historical light if one is to understand their unique history. This book makes a significant contribution to military sociology, gender studies, American studies, and race and ethnic relations."-John Sibley Butler,The University of Texas at Austin, author of Entrepreneurship and Self-Help Among Black Americans: A Reconsideration of Race and Economics
"A fascinating account of black women in the armed forces in World War II. We are indebted to Brenda Moore for recording this story while these women are still with us. Moore gives powerful new insights for African American studies, gender studies, and military history."-Charles Moskos,Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University
"A rich, comprehensive study."-Philadelphia New Observer