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Blacks in the Military

The Portrayal of Blacks in the Military

Although blacks have participated in every war since the American Revolution, on has to look far and wide to recognize a black man in any Hollywood film before World War II. For example, 5,000 of the 300,000 troops in the Continental Army were black, the Louisiana Battalion of Free Men of Color was a major black segregated unit in the War of 1812, 180,000 blacks served in the Civil War, and of the two major segregated black units in World War I, 5,100 casualties were recorded (GENMISC.DOC 1). Blacks were treated notoriously bad in the military in any wars prior to World War II. Often, they were used for service and then dismissed from the military as happened with many of the marines from Montford Point, the first all-black marine training camp. Many blacks joined the military to gain their freedom, such as military freedom was. Many blacks lost their lives or were disabled in combat and were not entitled to benefits or relief for their survivors. Adding to this, the military was segregated before World War II, and black troops often saw training and battle conditions and accommodations that were far inferior to those experienced by whites. After World War II, the military became segregated and blacks and whites gained a more egalitarian status in the military. It was during this period that Hollywood began to portray the black military man in film. This analysis will discuss the portrayal of blacks in the military in films in order to show that the racism and mistreatment they often encountered in the military at the hands of whites was similar to the racial portrayal and misrepresentation of them in Hollywood films. However, some films in the late 1980s and 1990s began portraying a more equitable characterization of black military men.

One of the first films to deal with the black experience in the military in a mainstream Hollywood film was Home of the Brave. The film was an ...

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Blacks in the Military. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 19:11, June 02, 2020, from