Military History of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day. There has been no war fought by or within the United States in which African Americans did not participate, including the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, the Spanish American War, the World Wars, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as other minor conflicts.
African-Americans as slaves and free blacks served on both sides during the war. Black soldiers served in northern militias from the outset, but this was forbidden in the South, where slave-owners feared arming slaves. Lord Dunmore, the Royal Governor of Virginia, issued an emancipation proclamation in November 1775, promising freedom to runaway slaves who fought for the British; Sir Henry Clinton issued a similar edict in New York in 1779. Over 100,000 slaves escaped to the British lines, although possibly as few as 1,000 served under arms. Many of the rest served as orderlies, mechanics, laborers, servants, scouts and guides, although more than half died in smallpox epidemics that swept the British forces, and many were driven out of the British lines when food ran low. Despite Dunmore’s promises, the majority were not given their freedom. Many Black Loyalists’ descendants now live in Canada.
In response, and because of manpower shortages, Washington lifted the ban on black enlistment in the Continental Army in January 1776. All-black units were formed in Rhode Island and Massachusetts; many were slaves promised freedom for serving in lieu of their masters; another all-African-American unit came from Haiti with French forces. At least 5,000 African-American soldiers fought as Revolutionaries, and at least 20,000 served with the British.
Military History of Asian Americans have fought and served on behalf of the United States since the War of 1812. During the American Civil War Asian Americans fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. Afterwards Asian Americans served primarily in the U.S. Navy until the Philippine-American War.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Asian Americans began to attend U.S. military academies, and the first Asian Americans were awarded the Medal of Honor. World War I saw Asian Americans serving as “non-whites” in the National Army. After World War I, Asian American service fell into obscurity until World War II when significant contributions by Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, and Korean Americans were documented.
With the desegregation of the U.S. military in 1948, segregated Asian American units ceased to exist, and Asian Americans served in integrated armed forces. Asian American combatants in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts were awarded the Medal of Honor, and Asian Americans have continued to serve until the present day.
Hispanics and Latinos have participated in the military of the United States and in every major military conflict from the American Revolution onward. Tens of thousands of Latinos are deployed in the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, and U.S. military missions and bases elsewhere. Hispanics and Latinos have not only distinguished themselves in the battlefields but also reached the high echelons of the military, serving their country in sensitive leadership positions on domestic and foreign posts. Up to now, 43 Hispanics and Latinos have been awarded the nation’s highest military distinction, the Medal of Honor (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor).
A Long Tradition Of Participation
American Indians have participated with distinction in United States military actions for more than 200 years. Their courage, determination, and fighting spirit were recognized by American military leaders as early as the 18th century.
Many tribes were involved in the War of 1812, and Indians fought for both sides as auxiliary troops in the Civil War. Scouting the enemy was recognized as a particular skill of the Native American soldier. In 1866, the U.S. Army established its Indian Scouts to exploit this aptitude. The Scouts were active in the American West in the late 1800s and early 1900s, accompanying Gen. John J. Pershing’s expedition to Mexico in pursuit of Pancho Villa in 1916. They were deactivated in 1947 when their last member retired from the Army in ceremonies at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona. Native Americans from Indian Territory were also recruited by Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and saw action in Cuba in the Spanish-American War in 1898. As the military entered the 20th century, American Indians had already made a substantial contribution through military service and were on the brink of playing an even larger role.
A Brief History of American Indian Military Service
Ask about Americans Indians serving in the U.S. military service and World War II generally comes to mind with the Navajo code talkers or perhaps Marine Cpl. Ira Hayes (Pima) in the photo of the U.S. flag raising at Iwo Jima. But the history of Native Americans in military services stretches in the past and the present much farther and deeper.
Basically from the time of European arrival on this continent, the indigenous people have taken sides and taken up arms in conflicts – though not always supporting the United States’ cause and sometime in conflicts against other tribal nations.For more: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/05/28/brief-history-american-indian-military-service-115318
- Cherokee code talkers
- Choctaw code talkers
- Comanche code talkers
- Meskwaki code talkers
- Navajo code talkers
- Seminole code talkers
Executive Order 9981 is an executive order issued on July 26, 1948 by President Harry S. Truman (D). It abolished racial discrimination in the armed forces and eventually led to the end of segregation in the services.
In 1947, A. Philip Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation.
The Order’s operative statement is:
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
The order also established a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the civilian leadership of the military to implement the policy.