Over one million Black men and women served in World War II. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge, serving in segregated units and performing unheralded but vital support jobs, only to be denied housing and educational opportunities on their return home. Without their crucial contributions to the war effort, the United States could not have won the war. And yet the stories of these Black veterans have long been ignored.
A running theme in Delmont’s book — the prescience with which Black Americans identified the fascist threat while much of the United States was still in an isolationist mood ... Delmont is an energetic storyteller, giving a vibrant sense of his subject in all of its dimensions. He draws attention to the role played by Black personnel in logistics ... Delmont doesn’t skimp on...sobering stories, explaining that he wants to provide a 'definitive history.' But he also clearly sees his book as a chance to honor those Black Americans who fought for the United States but never properly got their due.
Poignant and unflinching ... In interweaving numerous meticulously researched narratives...Delmont illustrates the epic battle for racial equality on all fronts ... Though these names will be familiar to some, the grace with which Delmont weaves them into a broader narrative of contemporary Black experience sheds a harsh light on the pervasive — and often unsuccessful — struggle for fair treatment at every level of the American military.
Delmont delves deeper to tell the story of African Americans who had recognized the fascist threat a decade earlier and volunteered for the republican cause in the Spanish Civil War ... Particularly compelling is Delmont’s analysis of the mutiny court martial of Black sailors at Port Chicago off San Francisco Bay. Now largely forgotten, this cause célèbre for civil-rights activists led to desegregation of the Navy. Delmont’s work restores these times to our collective memory.