Before he became the first Black player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Emlen Tunnell served in the Coast Guard during and after World War II, where he was credited with saving the lives of two shipmates in separate incidents.
The success of officers from ROTC programs at Historical Black Colleges and Universities was based on the realization of the value diversity brings to the U.S. military, says the author of this commentary.
Because of the bravery of these and other people of color before us, the 2 million African Americans who have returned from our more recent conflicts continue to build on a military foundation that is increasingly diverse and inclusive.
In 1944, Allied forces began liberating the Netherlands from Nazi occupation. Among these soldiers were black GIs whose role in the liberation had largely been overlooked in historical accounts. Now, the Black Liberators Project seeks to highlight the service and sacrifice of these soldiers, including the 172 buried in Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten.
A South Carolina town has honored the memory of a black WWII veteran whose 1946 beating at the hands of a white police chief left him permanently blind and helped spur President Harry Truman’s drive to integrate the U.S. military.
The U.S. soldier was badly wounded, returned to battle and fought to the death. He was recommended for the nation's highest valor award, but the award was downgraded. Some say racism had a role in that.