Black Power GIs: How the Rising Storm of Radical Black Masculinity in the Vietnam War Shaped Military Perceptions of African-American Soldiers Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Dong, Cheryl Xue
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • During the Vietnam War, a new generation of African-American men entered the military. These young soldiers grew up in the crucible of the Civil Rights Movement and brought new expectations of racial equality to the military. At the same time, an escalating war in Vietnam and the racial inequity of the draft caused many soldiers to turn to radical expressions of black masculinity. These demonstrations of radical black masculinity renegotiated meanings of citizenship and military service for young, African-American men. These soldiers questioned the traditional narrative that military service could serve as a path to American citizenship and even questioned the value of American citizenship itself. These soldiers explored alternatives to American citizenship through experimentation with black nationalism and black power. After the Vietnam War, the military had to re-think the relationship of military service to American citizenship itself. In a nation without the draft, military service could no longer be the ultimate test of masculine citizenship. Instead, the military had to re-package itself as economic opportunity instead of patriotic duty.
Date of publication
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Jackson, Jerma
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2013

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