Screenshot courtesy of The U.S. Army on Youtube

African American veterans and the Civil Rights Movement

The experiences of African American soldiers during World War II inspired many of them to agitate for civil rights when they returned to civilian life. Even though black soldiers faced discrimination from within the American military, they had the opportunity to observe societies where Jim Crow racism was not the law of the land. Black soldiers hoped that their military service would serve as a powerful claim to equal citizenship for African Americans. When they came home, however, they encountered fierce resistance from white supremacists determined to reassert the prewar racial order.

Many prominent civil rights activists were drawn from the ranks of veterans, including Brown v. Board of Education plaintiff Oliver Brown and NAACP field officers Medgar Evers and Amzie Moore.



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