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Many black soldiers serving in the U.S. Army during World War II hoped that they might make permanent gains as a result of their military service and their willingness to defend their country. They were soon disabused of such illusions. Taps for a Jim Crow Army is a powerful collection of letters written by black soldiers in the 1940s to various government and non-government officials. The soldiers expressed their disillusionment, rage, and anguish over the discrimination and segregation they experienced in the Army. Most black troops were denied entry into army specialist schools; black officers were not allowed to command white officers; black soldiers were served poorer food and were forced to ride Jim Crow military buses into town and to sit in Jim Crow base movie theaters. In the South, German POWs could use the same latrines as white American soldiers, but blacks could not. The original foreword by Benjamin Quarles, professor emeritus of history at Morgan State University, and a new foreword by Bernard C. Nalty, the chief historian in the Office of Air Force History, offer rich insights into the world of these soldiers. Phillip McGuire is professor of history at Fayetteville State University in North Carolina.

Intensely affecting. . . . A vivid, challenging book. -- Los Angeles Times Book Review

A moving commentary on a dark page in American history. -- Review of Politics

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






African American soldiers, United States Army, World War II, Racism


Military History


Forewords by Benjamin Quarles and Bernard C. Nalty.

Taps for a Jim Crow Army: Letters from Black Soldiers in World War II
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