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|Uncle Sam Must Be Losing The War||Share:|
Uncle Sam Must Be Losing The War: Black Marines of The 51st
Introduction By Alex Haley
It has been over four decades since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor plunged this country into three years of bitter warfare. Many who served in that war have written of their experiences and perspectives, and this book by Bill Downey will rank high among the accounts of the United States marines.
By September of 1942, the United States Marines were the last military Service to accept black volunteers. Few Americans realized this, and average white Marines were as surprised as anyone else to find blacks wearing dress greens.
Here, one of those first black United States Marines tells the candid story of their early training and experiences. It is a gripping testimony whose biting humor etches the way it really was.
It all began when Commander-in-Chief Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the Marine Corps to organize and train a unit of black volunteers—which was done, albeit grudgingly. And America's first black Marines emerged at a time when most public facilities throughout the south and much of the north, such as toilets, drinking fountains, stores, theaters, hotels, buses, trains, and depots, were rigidly segregated.
For these reasons alone, it had to be remarkable that several hundred young black men of good education, background and moral character would exhibit such a patriotic commitment as to enlist in a branch of service where they were previous unaccepted and were still not welcomed.
Uncle Sam Must Be Losing The War focuses upon author Bill Downey as one of those idealistic young blacks who was eager to serve his country and joined the Unites States Marines. We see him eventually return home regarding himself as a survivor. Bill's story is in many aspects the experiences of the more than 15,000 black Marines who followed later. ~ Alex Haley, Beverly Hills, California 1982.
(The above Introduction by Alex Haley is presented under the Creative Commons License. Uncle Sam Must Be Losing The War: Black Marines of The 51st was authored by Bill Downey. © 1982 Strawberry Hill Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Uncle Sam Must Be Losing The War • Reviews
"Bill was a warm, caring man whom I admired. I hope he thought of me as a friend. He died in 1994, a beloved Santa Barbaran who always held his head high. Sabatini's famous line from Scaramouche fits: 'He was born with a gift for laughter and a sense that the world was mad.' " - Barney Brantingham, The Santa Barbara Independent.
"A turning point in the war between blacks and whites—a war that, sadly, continues today to a certain extent. Funny, raunchy, down to earth, and true." - E. Martin, Shelby, Montana.
"From boot camp to the Pacific Theater of War, the Black Marines of the 51st were a proud, hard working, hard drinking team whose contribution to their country is set down by one of their own. Raunchy, funny, sad and human, this story is a tribute to the Marines themselves and to Blacks everywhere." - Strawberry Hill Press Review.