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Grade: Senior
Subject: History

#4415. For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s Black Patriots

History, level: Senior
Posted Fri Aug 13 09:09:40 PDT 2010 by Karen Poole (Karen Poole).

United Solutions and Services, Reston, VA. United States
Activity Time: 25 minute video/Class discussion (1 class per


This guide and the documentary that accompanies it are available and can be downloaded at

Table of Contents
IntroductIon................................................................................................. 2 Lesson.1.•.The Revolution..............................................................................3 Lesson.2.•.The Civil War.................................................................................5 Lesson.3.•.World War I...................................................................................7 Lesson.4.• World War II...................................................................................9 Lesson.5.•.The Korean War.......................................................................... 11 Lesson.6.•.The Vietnam War......................................................................... 13 Lesson.7.•.The Middle East.......................................................................... 15 concLusIon................................................................................................... 18


Course outComes
Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:
1. Understand the bravery of black Soldiers, including women, during the major wars in U.S. history.
2. Define the terms “Patriot” and “Liberty”.
3. Understand the roles of black Soldiers in the major conflicts.
4. Describe the sacrifices and accomplishments of black Soldiers since the earliest days of the republic.
5. Explain how racial disparity existed in major conflicts.
6. Understand the impact of “For Love of Liberty” on the hearts and souls of black Soldiers, then and now.

• Black Soldiers have an extraordinary history of service to this country. However, history books have somehow overlooked most of their significant contributions to the major wars in our country. Even though black Soldiers, both men and women, were denied rights and privileges that other Americans enjoyed, they believed that by going to war, they could improve their lives and make their country true to its own promise.
• This video includes nine scenes from a documentary that tells the story of black service men and women who risked their lives in defense of this nation in an effort to preserve freedom for their country while attempting to acquire it personally.

Introduction (3:48 run time)

The Revolution
1. Understand the role of slaves in the American Revolution.
2. Understand the attitude toward slaves, as Soldiers, in the American Revolution.
3. Understand why slaves fought on both sides of the American Revolution.

• The American Revolutionary War was also known as the American War of Independence. It was known as the war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and 13 British Colonies on the North American Continent.
• George Washington was first the commander of the Continental Army. After the war, General Washington resigned his commission as the Commander of the Army and became the first United States President (1789-1797).
• The war cost an estimated $80 million.
• The exact number of all American Soldiers who died in the American Revolution is unknown.
• Popular music during the Revolutionary War included “Yankee Doodle Dandy”.
• • More than 5,000 blacks fought against the British to win The American Revolution.
• Many black Soldiers risked death and persecution from U.S. troops by fighting with the British Army. The king, during The Revolutionary War, was George III. Loyalists were American colonists who remained loyal to the Kingdom of Great Britain (and the British monarchy) during and after The American Revolutionary War. They were often referred to as Tories, Royalists, or King’s Men by the Patriots.
• After fighting in the war, black Soldiers, including veterans in the Continental Army, still were not recognized as qualified Soldiers in the military because of the racial divide.
• An estimated 100,000 blacks escaped, died, or were killed during The American Revolution.

The Revolution (1:46 run time)

• Why did the Continental Army begin enlisting blacks in the military?
-During The American Revolutionary War, Army Commanders feared that the military was not large enough to defeat the British. As such, the military decided to enlist slaves because they made up 20% of the total
U.S. population.
• Why did the slaves fight so hard during The American Revolution?
-Many slaves first learned of the term “liberation” from overhearing discussions among their slave masters about the war.
-Others were highly motivated to serve in the military, both British and American, because they were promised freedom.
Do you think that black Soldiers fighting on both sides of this war were Patriots? Why or why not?
How did the colonists and the British treat blacks during the American Revolution?

-The colonists and the British regarded blacks as property. They were used as payment for military services and given as rewards for services rendered. Their induction into the military and promise of freedom was a commercial transaction, in effect renting their bodies in return for liberty.
-Blacks were enlisted largely for menial work rather than combat duty and denied positions that might give them authority over white service men.
-However, due to the shortage of manpower in the military, slaves were subjected to enemy fire. But when the shooting was over and the number of men under arms sharply reduced, blacks were the first to be dismissed.
• Who was the first and one of the most famous heroes of the Revolution?
- Crispus Attucks, son of an African father and an Indian mother.

The Civil War
1. Understand the major cause of The Civil War.
2. Understand the impact of The Civil War on all Americans, particularly slaves.
3. Understand the debate over slavery.
4. Understand the role played by blacks during The Civil War.

• Black people from both the North and the South participated in The Civil War in a number of ways.
• Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President (1861-1865).
• In January of 1863, the war was costing the U.S. government an estimated $2.5 million daily.
• The Confederate States of America were Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
• There were over 618,000 casualties of The Civil War.
• One of the songs sung by the Union Soldiers was “Battle Hymn of the Republic”; one of the songs sung by the Confederate Army was “Dixie’s Land”. The song sung by both armies, North and South, was “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”.
• At the outset, the North and South opposed blacks enlisting as Soldiers. However, the Confederacy used slaves in the beginning as military laborers. The War Department refused to recruit blacks arguing that this was a “white man’s war.”
• Free blacks from the North tried to join as Soldiers early in the war. They wanted to free slaves in the South and also felt they could improve their chances of gaining equal rights in American society by proving their patriotism and courage on the battlefield.
• In the North, prejudice prevented blacks from enlisting into the Union Army until 1862.
• The North enlisted about 100,000 blacks to fight in the war.
• In the South, black slaves performed much of the heavy labor that was required to prepare the Confederacy for war. They built forts, dug trenches, hauled artillery and supplies, set up army camps, and acted as cooks and servants to the Confederate Soldiers.
• In the Union Navy, blacks served under integrated conditions but with no

rank higher than “Boy” (the lowest rating). The Navy took control of the major waterways, north and south, early in the war.
• Congress granted equal pay to the U.S. colored troops and made the payroll action retroactive.
• Black Sailors made up nearly one-fourth of the Union Navy, and more than 186,000 black Soldiers served in 16 Union Regiments, participating in 39 major battles. About one third of whom died or were reported missing.
• The 54th Massachusetts was the first northern black Volunteer Regiment. It was composed predominantly of free blacks, not runaway slaves.
• Only a few black Soldiers fought for the Confederacy, although it is unclear how many black Soldiers died in combat.
• Sergeant William Carney earned the Medal of Honor for bravery at Fort Wagner.
• Following The Civil War, the Army disbanded volunteer colored Regiments, and established six regular Army Regiments of black troops with white officers.

The Civil War (3:17 run time)
• What was the major cause of The Civil War?
-By 1860, war between the North and South was inevitable. Anti-slavery forces in the northern states and southern slaveholding states were at an impasse over the balance of political power, with southern states threatening to secede from the Union with the election of Abraham Lincoln.
• What was the real debate over slavery between the North and South?
-The debate over slavery was more an issue of economic competition than racial oppression; southern slave owners feared the loss of wealth and political power, while European immigrants in the North were afraid that newly emancipated slaves would compete for jobs.
• What was the role blacks played during The Civil War?
- Male slaves performed the following duties, but not as Soldiers:
• Built fortifications and gun batteries • Worked in arms factories
• Made iron • Wagoners
• Repaired bridges and roads • Longshoremen
• Orderlies • Commissary workers
• Performed other forms of agricultural • Blacksmiths and military labor including marching to • Masons war with their owners as man servants • Spies
• Cut timber • Servants
• Dug coal • Scouts
• Hauled supplies to the front lines

-Female slaves performed the following jobs in hospitals:
• Cooks • Nurses • Laundresses

World War l
1. Understand the attitude towards black Soldiers before, during and after World War I (WWI).
2. Understand why blacks volunteered to fight in World War I.
3. Understand how the Fighting 369th Regiment performed in combat and the factors affecting their performance.

• World War I was also known as The First World War, The Great War and The War to End All Wars.
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President (1913-1921).
The United States did not enter the war until 1917.
World War I ended in 1918 and the American troops returned home.
The estimated cost of the war for the United States was approximately $23 billion.
It’s impossible to have 100% accurate figures about deaths during World War I since many sources have slightly differing details of significant facts and some facts are just simply not known. Some historians stated that there were more than 100,000 U.S. military deaths during WWI.
James Reese Europe’s (or Jim Europe) musical compositions inspired by wartime experiences and the achievements of his band, known as the 369th
U.S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band, was the most respected black band leader during World War I.
• World War I was known for trench warfare where troops were confined to trenches because of tight defenses.
• Although comprising just 10% of the U.S. population, blacks supplied 13% of inductees.
• More than 350,000 blacks served in segregated units during World War I, mostly as support troops.
• For their valor, Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts of the 369th were the first Americans to receive the French Croix de Guerre. The French Croix de Guerre was established on April 8, 1915 to commemorate individual mentions in dispatches during WWI. The lyrics of “On Patrol in No Man’s Land” describe a small unit attack.


World War I (2:01 run time)
• How did blacks view the war?
-Black men from all over the country eagerly joined the war effort. They viewed the conflict as an opportunity to prove their loyalty, patriotism and worthiness for equal treatment in the United States.
• What was the state of race relations during WWI?
-While still discriminatory, the Army was far more progressive in race relations than the other branches of the military.
-Blacks could not serve in the Marines, and could only serve limited and menial positions in the Navy and the Coast Guard.
-By the end of the war, blacks served in cavalry, infantry, signal, medical, engineer and artillery units as well as serving as Chaplains, surveyors, truck drivers, chemists and intelligence officers.
• How was the Fighting 369th Regiment treated?
-Protests and threats of violence against blacks training at nearby Army facilities in Spartanburg, South Carolina caused the military to send the unit – the soon-to-be highly decorated 369th U.S. Infantry to France.
-The Fighting 369th Regiment was detached to the French command and performed spectacularly, despite having only brief and rudimentary military training.

World War ll
1. Understand the difficulties faced by black service men due to racism and segregation during World War II.
2. Understand the contributions to the war effort by the all-black 332nd bomber escort group.

• World War II, or The Second World War (often abbreviated WWII or WW2), was a global war.
• Franklin Roosevelt was the 32nd President (1933-1945). After President Roosevelt’s death, Harry Truman became the 33rd President (1945-1953).
• This war cost an estimated $288 billion.
• Approximately 291,557 Soldiers were killed in combat.
• During WWII, 66 black pilots were killed in combat, and another 84 men were killed in training accidents, either in the U.S. or overseas.
• In 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services.
• The Andrews’ sisters recorded the “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” in 1941; it was nominated for an Academy Award for best song.
• • President Roosevelt joined the Allied Powers (England, France and Russia) and officially declared war after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Sunday, December 7,1941.
• At this time, there were only two black officers in the Army: General Benjamin
• Davis Sr. and his son, Captain Benjamin O. Davis Jr.
• Long before Pearl Harbor, one black man, Yancy Williams, pressured the U.S. mili¬tary to open a pilot’s training school for blacks, the Army Flying School in Alabama.
• Despite the efforts to integrate black Soldiers into the armed forces, segregation and discrimination were still very much a part of World War II.
• Black men and women who served in World War II were better educated than their predecessors in World War I, less accepting of “color lines”, and more determined to serve as equals to whites, including in every form of combat.
• The first American hero of World War II was a black man, Dorie Miller. He was a mess cook aboard the USS Arizona. He carried the ship’s mortally wounded Captain to safety and then manned an anti-aircraft gun to bring down two Japanese planes.


• In January 1941, the Army announced the formation of the first black Air Corps Unit, 99th Pursuit Squadron, the Lonely Eagles. The million-dollar Tuskegee Army Airfield in Alabama became the center of black World War II military aviation.
• Black women broke the color barriers for the first time, joining women’s branches of the armed forces: 4,000 in the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) in the Army and 60 Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in the Navy.

World War II (4:04 run time)
• Why were black Soldiers so willing to fight in World War II, considering the prejudice they suffered at home?
-Many black servicemen hoped their military contribution and sacrifice would prove to their white countrymen that blacks desired and deserved a full participatory role in U.S. society.
• How did the lives and social status of blacks change during WWII?
-Black people suspended their civil rights campaign believing that they would get improvements after the war – but nothing happened.
- Lynching and attacks by whites continued. -CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) was established in 1942 to end segregation.
-President Roosevelt agreed to ban racial discrimination in government jobs and to set up the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC) to report unfair employers, particularly in the war industry.
• How were blacks discriminated against in the armed forces?
-In 1941, the Army and Army Air Force refused to train black officers and pilots; the Navy only employed blacks as kitchen staff (mess-men); black blood could not be used for white casualties; no black women were employed at all.
• Discuss the impact of the Tuskegee Airmen in combat.
-The Tuskegee Airmen flew more than 15,000 bombing and escort missions, shooting down 136 enemy aircraft and destroying 273 planes on the ground.
-Six hundred black pilots (the Tuskegee Airmen) saw service by 1945. All three services had black officers, including women.
-The Tuskegee Airmen flew combat missions in Africa, Sicily and Italy, never losing a single Allied bomber to enemy planes. This squadron was known as the “Black Eagles”.
• Who was the first black Soldier in World War II to be honored for exceptional meritorious conduct in combat?
-Sergeant Jerry Davis won the Legion of Merit, a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

The Korean War
1. Understand the heroism of the black Soldier despite the circumstances.
2. Understand the impact of this war on military integration.

• The Korean War was often called The Forgotten War because it took place between World War II and The Vietnam War.
• Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President (1945-1953).
• The war cost an estimated $30 billion.
• The period (1950-1953) was considered the worst in the history of American race relations.
• • The all black 24th Regiment was one of the first ground units sent to Korea.
• The 24th was outnumbered and outgunned by the North Korean troops; they were limited in their ability to halt the North Korean advance.
• Black and white men on the Korean warfront found comfort in the crooning of country blues greats like Ray Charles and Hank Williams. One song, “I’m Gonna Dig Myself A Hole” was recorded by black artist, Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup in 1951. This was one of a number of blues songs written from the black perspective.
• This war marked the beginning of military integration.

The Korean War (1:52 run time)
• Were there any heroic black Soldiers of the Korean War?
-Several black officers and enlisted men were decorated for bravery, often posthumously. The first American Soldier of any color to win a Congressional Medal of Honor in Korea was black Private William Thompson of the 24th. Cornelius H. Charlton, highlighted in the movie, was also awarded a Medal of Honor. His citation read, “The wounds received during his daring exploits resulted in his death but his indomitable courage, superb leadership, and gallant self-sacrifice reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the military service.”
• What factors impacted black Soldiers fighting in The Korean War?
-Lieutenant Colonel Charles B. Smith, Commanding Officer, led the first American troops to fight against North Korea. Black and white Soldiers were unprepared and poorly trained for the war. Task Force Smith, with only two under-strength rifle companies, B and C, and part of the 1st Battalion, supported by part of the 52nd Field Artillery Battalion, fought elements of the North Korean 4th Division and 105th Armored Division, a few miles north of Osan, on July 5, 1950. He led the 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment and 24th Infantry Division (Buffalo Soldiers).

The Vietnam War
1. Understand the United States involvement in this war.
2. Understand how the black Soldier responded during this anti-war movement.

• Vietnam was the longest deployment of U.S. forces, to date, in hostile action in the history of the American republic.
• The conflict spanned four Presidents (34th, 35th, 36th, and 37th respectively): John F. Kennedy (1961-1963), Lyndon B. Johnson (1963-1969), Richard M. Nixon (1969-1974), and Gerald Ford (1974-1977).
• The war cost approximately $140 billion.
• During this time, blacks made up 11% of the American population and made up 12.6% of the Soldiers in Vietnam.
• An anti-war movement developed out of strong national opposition to the war.
• Approximately 2.7 million Americans served in this war; 58,000 died; about 1,350 Americans were prisoners of war or were missing in action and roughly 1,200 Americans were reported killed in action with their body not recovered; the average age of a U.S. Soldier was 19.
• Musically, this generation had the best of all worlds…traditional outlets in classical, instrumental, ballads, swing, jazz, country, folk and pop while bursting at the seams with new soul, Motown, rock ‘n roll and other sounds. Some of the popular songs during The Vietnam War era were: “Theme from a Summer Place” (Percy Faith); “The Twist”(Chubby Checker); “Georgia on My Mind” (Ray Charles); “What’s Going On” (Marvin Gaye); “Are You Lonesome Tonight” (Elvis Presley) and “War” (Edwin Starr).
• Captain Elizabeth Allen, a black nurse in the Army Nurse Corps, was sent to Vietnam in 1967 and was among the 6,250 nurses that served in this war.
• The military achieved success in the area of racial integration that exceeded most institutions.
• Blacks were among the first to receive Medals of Honor in Vietnam.
• The Vietnam War ended with a Cease-Fire Agreement under President Richard M. Nixon.
• The last troops left Vietnam on March 29, 1973.

The Vietnam War (1:48 run time)
• Why did the U.S. become involved in this war?
-This was not “our war”. After WWII, President Truman and other western allies viewed communism as the greatest post-war threat. The turning point for Asia came in December 1949, when Chinese communist forces won the civil war in China. Now the U.S. feared all of Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand) might fall to communism. When France pulled-out in 1955-56, the U.S. felt it had to fill the void. So beginning in 1955, the U.S. started sending military advisors to assist the South Vietnamese Army. The conflict continued to escalate as communist rebels in the South gained more control of the countryside, which required additional U.S. military advisors and equipment to strengthen the South Vietnamese Army. In 1965, the U.S. sent combat troops to South Vietnam.
• What major events took place in the U.S. during this time?
(Depending on time, review some of the major events.)

The Middle East
1. Discuss the black Soldier’s presence in The Gulf War.
2. Compare and contrast The Gulf War with World War II.
3. Discuss and understand the importance of acknowledging the black Soldier’s accomplishments in World War II.

• After two centuries of warfare, blacks were finally considered and acknowledged as full and equal partners in the defense of our country.
• The draft ended in 1973 and the military became an all volunteer force.
• The end of The Cold War came when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
• General Colin L. Powell became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1989, which is the highest military position in the United States.
• George H. W. Bush was the 41st President of the United States (1989-1993) during the Gulf War.
• The Soviet Union collapsed in power in the early 1990’s.
• The genre of music made popular during The Gulf War was known as hip-hop. One known group of hip-hop artists was Public Enemy.
• Black Gulf War troops were properly trained; this was the “New Military”.

• 95% of the troops were high school graduates compared to 75% of the
U.S. population.
The Gulf War was considered a military hybrid; combined with World War II nostalgia, Spanish-American War-style patriotism and Star Wars technology.
Actual combat in the Gulf lasted for only six weeks.
At the height of this war, some 500,000 American troops had been deployed to the Gulf.
The United States emerged victorious in The Gulf War.
In comparison, U.S. forces dropped more bomb tonnage during this war than all tonnage dropped during World War II.
There were 291,557 battle deaths during World War II compared to only 147 in The Gulf War.
Black Gulf War Soldiers were extremely visible heroes; decorated with medals and honors.


The Middle East and World War II Medals of Honor (2:20 run time)
• Name two objectives for the U.S. involvement in The Gulf War.
-Immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of all Iraqi forces from Kuwait.
-Restoration of Kuwait’s legitimate government to replace the puppet regime installed by Iraq.
• Who was responsible for finally honoring the World War II veterans?
-In 1993, Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina, conducted research for the Army on the racial disparity that existed in selecting Medal of Honor recipients. The research revealed that there was a racial disparity between white and black Soldiers and recommended that the Army consider a group of 10 Soldiers for the Medal of Honor. Of those 10, seven were recommended to receive the award. In October of 1996 Congress passed the necessary legislation, which allowed the President to award these Medals of Honor. President Bill Clinton presented the Medals of Honor in a ceremony on January 13, 1997. Vernon Baker was the only recipient still living and present to receive his award; the other six Soldiers received their awards posthumously, with their medals being presented to family members.
• Name the seven black Soldiers who received the Medal of Honor in 1997?
Private George Watson: When his ship was struck by enemy bombers, Private Watson helped others make it to life rafts until he was so exhausted that he was pulled down by the tow of the sinking ship.
First Lieutenant John Fox: Lt. Fox volunteered to remain behind in an observation force post as the enemy drove U.S. forces out of a small town in Italy; directed defensive artillery fire. Eventually outnumbered, he directed that artillery fire at his own position; his riddled body was found among 100 German Soldiers.
Staff Sergeant Ruben Rivers: When Sgt. Rivers’ tank hit a mine, he refused an order to withdraw; he took command of another tank and kept on fighting until the second tank was hit and he was killed.
Major Charles Thomas: Lt. Thomas suffered multiple wounds while helping others to find cover; he refused to evacuate until his forces could return fire effectively.
Staff Sergeant Edward Carter: Sgt. Carter was wounded five times while crossing a field in Germany; when eight enemy Soldiers tried to capture him, he killed six, and took two prisoners of war.
(Cont’d)(Lesson 7 Cont’d)
Private First Class Willy James: Private James was pinned down for an hour, made his way back to his platoon, planned a counterattack and was then killed going to aid his wounded platoon leader.
Second Lieutenant Vernon Baker, was the only living black World War II veteran to receive The Medal of Honor. He led an assault on German- held Castle Aghinolfi, walking his troops unscathed through a mine field. Then he single-handedly wiped out an observation post, three machine gun nests and two bunkers.


1. Reflect upon the black Soldier’s dedication to democracy and freedom.
2. Understand the progress that has been made in the quest for racial equality in our country.

As we have discussed:
• Blacks suffered negative stereotypes since the beginning of The Revolutionary War.
• • Blacks have served in all of the major wars, although they faced blatant discrimination from the society they fought to protect. However, today
• The military is now fully integrated and the Armed Forces of the United States continue to provide a level playing field of equal opportunity for blacks.
• Black service men and women continue to lead the Armed Forces in the war on terrorism; the most recent war.
• Black service men and women have lived up to the challenges of additional opportunities and profoundly influenced our country’s efforts.

Conclusion (3:24)
• How has the black Soldier influenced the U.S. Armed Forces?
-From Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell, blacks have willingly served our country. Five thousand fought in The Revolution; 200,000 served in The Civil War; 380,000 were in World War I and 1,200,000 were in World War II; 600,000 fought in Korea and 275,000 were in Vietnam. 21% of all military personnel are black compared to 12% of the general population. In their hearts, according to the film’s writer, they know the reason why their ancestors fought so bravely despite obvious social injustice…they fought For Love Of Liberty.
The guide was developed by Marcelite D. Johnson, Ph.D. and Jewell G. Winn, Ed.D. of M and J Consultants.
For Love of Liberty: A Curriculum and Video Guide for Facilitators. Copyright 2010 by MJC
No part of the film or guide may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher, with the exception of materials designed to be reproduced for classroom instruction.
For more information: M and J Consultants • P. O. Box 281544 • Nashville, Tennessee 37228
(615) 715-0441 •
Disclaimer: No liability is assumed with respect to the use of the information contained herein. While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this work, the publisher and the authors assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. Neither is any liability assumed for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. This work has been prepared for use as part of a structured course and should only be used within that context.