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Good morning and welcome to focus 580. It's our morning talk program. My name is David Inge. Glad to have you with us in this part of the show and we'll be talking with a scholar who's written quite a lot about the African-American experience and different sorts of ways. His name is Robert Allen and he is adjunct professor of African-American studies and ethnic studies at UC Berkeley. He has written a number of subjects he's looked at social movements and labor issues at race and gender. He has done some writing about the experiences of African-Americans in the military in the period of World War 2. He's now doing some work on looking at the life of one of the men who was a leader in the brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters Union. And he's here in Champaign Urbana to give a talk about another black scholar a man named Kenneth Clark. He'll be talking this afternoon at four o'clock. And at the Lucy Ellis alone engine this is a talk that's being sponsored by the African-American studies folks here in Champagne Urbana
at the U of I. He's been good enough to come and spend a little time talking with us and I thought we might ask him to talk a little bit about some of his work that looks at the experiences of black soldiers in World War 2. Questions are certainly welcome. The number here in Champaign Urbana 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 we do also have a toll free line and that was good anywhere that you can hear us. That's 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5 locally 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. I don't know if I said that first time around 3 3 3 9 4 5 5 and toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. Well thanks very much for talking with us. Well good morning I'm glad to be here. We're really pleased. I think that it would be I'd really like to have you talk a bit about the Port Chicago mutiny. Something that. Maybe some people it may be a story some people have not heard or it may just touch off a faint sort of memory they might say Oh yes I think I've heard something about that but I'm not quite sure of the story. And this is something that despite the name is a happening California.
That's right. Yeah. And it happened in the summer of 1944 at a munitions large munitions depot which is not I think not very far from San Francisco where sailors were involved in loading ammunition and there was an enormous explosion several hundred people were killed most of them were were black sailors. And maybe we started there because I guess it's still something of a mystery what exactly I mean we know what happened but what caused it. Does anybody really know. No no that was a court of inquiry at the time of the explosion but they were not able to determine a specific cause. And unfortunately what the court of inquiry ended up doing was basically laying the blame on the young African-Americans sailors who were there who were there. The folks primarily involved in loading the ammunition on to the ships. It was a segregated Navy base as they all were at that time and in a war too. It was the primary
transshipment facility for all of the ammunition and munitions going to our American forces in the Pacific theater so it was enormously important. But everyone assigned to loading ammunition there was black. Most of them draftees some enlistees as well and all the officers white and no black person could become an officer and in fact there was no other work for blacks to do on the base but load of ammunition. So this was the situation there at the time in 1044 when there was this terrible explosion in one of the ships being loaded with ammunition factories almost fully loaded with something like nearly 5000 tons of ammunition blew up. It was a horrendous explosion. In fact it was it would be the most powerful human made explosion prior to the atomic bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The following year three hundred twenty men were killed most of them African-American because that's who was there loading the bombs and the base was devastated. The little town of Port Chicago New York by. It was
also heavily damaged and several hundred people were injured in the town of no one was injured or killed in the town. It was in fact the worst home front disaster doing all of World War Two. And in the aftermath of this terrible tragedy. The what happened is that when the sailors were ordered to go back to work loading ammunition that was in effect a work stoppage a strike a protest. But in the military there is no such thing as a work stoppage strike or protest and they were and in fact they were in fact. Charged with and convicted a mutiny which in time of war is a capital offense. Fifty of the sailors were charged with with mutiny. This was a tremendous and a miscarriage of justice actually because that there was there was no mutiny and it was basically a protest against the racism and the unsafe conditions at the base. No one had been trained for loading the ammunition.
There were no real safety precautions in place and in fact many of the offices themselves had never been involved with loading ammunition before either. So as some of my informant informants told me this was an accident waiting to happen. How organized was the. Was this protest that. That is that the effort of the sailors to say essentially look this incredible disaster happen before here it's just another disaster waiting to happen again. It's not safe. We feel that we should not be asked to do this dangerous work at least not in the present conditions how how is or how organized was the protest. Well there was some men who were very clear about the conditions there and that this was unacceptable. And in fact one of the men told me that in the weeks prior to the explosion he had gone to his commanding officer several times and said the way we're working here there's going to be there's going to an explosion something terrible is going to happen. And the officer basically again shrugged it off with the explanation that well the bombs can
explode because there are no detonators in the bomb so we can't There can't be an explosion which turned out of course not not to be true but in the aftermath of this tragedy. And keep in mind when I say the young men who have most of them were teenagers 17 18 19. The man who was accused of being the ringleader of the mutiny was twenty two years old so we're talking basically about very young teenagers. There was discussion among the man after the tragedy of course because so many it was it was a traumatic experience they lost so many of their friends in the terrible explosion. But there was no concerted effort to organize a protest or to get the man to refuse to go back to work. In fact some of the men who engaged in the work process the work refusal had not been involved in any of these other conversations. Some of the men who were in fact accused of mutiny had not even been directly involved in the protest itself but
they were singled out and put on trial for mutiny and convicted and given long prison sentences as a result of this. I came across a story this was from a couple of years ago that actually was and obituary about one of the last survivors of one of the last men who had been convicted as part of this and he who in fact near the end of his life in 1999 was actually pardoned by President Clinton. And one of the things that strikes me about the story that it tells about him this man Freddie Meeks was that he apparently afterward hadn't told anybody that he had been involved in it. What this says was that apparently he he told his wife but he almost for almost 50 years he never told his children he didn't tell any of his employers. So it sounds as if this was a a great sort of weight the stigma that the man had carried with them afterwards was that story repeated with with other men.
Yes yes several of the men told me that they had never mentioned this to their families. In fact one of the men I went to interview in New York he was one of the first who with whom I spoke when I showed up at his house and we had corresponded we talked on the phone he did agree to this interview and so I showed up at his front door. But instead of inviting me into the house he stepped aside and said why would he want to go down the street to talk at a neighbor's house because I said fine. And if that works for you it works for me. But at the end of the conversation I asked him I said I hope I didn't cause a problem for you or any inconvenience by coming to your home to do the interview did and he said Well no but my son I have a 21 year old son he said he was home today. I have never told him what happened to me at Port Chicago and I wasn't sure that I wanted him to know even today so I didn't want to invite you in. I'm sorry to say I could not invite you in because I would have had to introduce you and say why you were there and so and so that's why we're doing the interview here. And it it just shocked me because I
realized that all these years decades later some of these men were still traumatized by this event that it happened so many years ago. It was still very much a part of their consciousness or so to the extent that they still hadn't discussed it with our families. And for a moment I almost thought I should be doing this. What right did I have to come along all these years later and dredge up these painful memories for these men. But I decided to continue with the research process because I realized in my research in the documentary record their stories their voices were not in the documentary record. And if we wanted to know the full story of what had happened at Port Chicago we need to interview these men and I that was basically what I said to them I said I want to tell the whole story here and I need to know how you experience this because it is not in the record. Part of the reason it was not in the record was that at the time of the mutiny trial the court and this was a military court ruled that any discussion of events prior to the explosion itself was irrelevant. And so the man's experiences there with the unsafe working conditions being forced to race against each other
loading ammunition and so on could not be discussed and is not in the record. Well according to this same story there was in about 10 years ago I think the Navy reviewed the convictions and they actually held them claiming first of all that race was not a factor in the verdict but apparently it found that may be. It had been somewhat grudgingly It seemed to acknowledge that it had made mistakes in signing citing the men to do this work. Clearly this was at a time when black soldiers were they were still doing things like driving trucks and they were. There were support workers and they weren't allowed on the front lines of combat I don't I don't think at least reluctantly late in the war. Yes I'm more than that. But yes and then I think grudging is the right word here because they did it at MIT reluctantly grudgingly that there was discrimination that was racism at the base at the time. But then that was true for other bases
as well I mean it wasn't unique to Port Chicago that was a general policy in the US military at the time but they claimed there was no discrimination it was no racism involved in the the court martial itself was just as it doesn't make any sense. It's not true. But what we were trying to do at that point in 1904 was to seek to get the convictions overturned on the grounds that there was not a mutiny and there was a work stoppage but it was a protest against the unsafe conditions there and the racial discrimination. It was not a mutiny because a mutiny is an attempt to usurp what it would to take command and then in the popular mind to seize control of the of the base or of the ship that was never what these men attempted to do is basically a peaceful sit down protest against the discrimination and the conditions there at the base which were horrendous as I said no training the racial discrimination the work divisions being forced to race against each other in loading bombs. This is insane. So it's not surprising that they were upset by this. And their worst fears were confirmed
when the explosion occurred after the offices were set. That is impossible. The bombs don't have detonated as it was. Is there any parallel Can you draw between between these men and the conditions under which they were working and and white soldiers and sailors that would have said that this was a case of disregard that had something to do with the fact that they were black. Or was it not. Would there have been that kind of disregard for the safety of any soldier or sailor or someplace else that it was just people said it was war time. And certainly this work is dangerous but it's war and you do face dangers and you just get on with what you do. You do what you're ordered to do. Well I mean it certainly was war time when the men were expecting to be face to face danger in fact many of them had volunteered to come into the to serve and they want they came in with the expectation they were going to be fighting they were going to be serving their country. And the experience though of being assigned to this kind of duty was a humiliating humiliating experience
because only black men were assigned to do this work. So clearly that was the year the racial discrimination there. They many of them had been trained for other kinds of work I got his mate radar radio operators and so on and they expected they hoped to be on the ships overseas fighting for their country and instead they were relegating relegated basically to being stevedores without even the training that was necessary to do that job. So there was definitely a racial component to this. And in a way it's almost as though these men were considered expendable. That their lives were less value than the lives of whites and white sailors. I think that was the message here. And the fact that they could not work in other capacities even on the base tells you something then about the nature of the discrimination that they faced. So I think it is true that there was I mean there was definitely a racial component to that. Black lives were not as valued as as white lives were and that black men were put in situations where they were
expected to do work without any training at all in a very dangerous situation. So I'm assuming that the other at this time this was in 1909 I talked about the fact that this I read the obituaries of this one man who was pardoned by the president at the time and think this article says there were just three men just three survivors are at point. I'm assuming that they all they all were part. No no no. Only the one Freddie Meeks. Because the way the pardon process works is you have to apply for the pardon. And which means you have to be alive to apply for it. So this is the problem then that we're facing now in terms of trying to get a conviction is overturned because although the men who were involved in this are now deceased their families are very much concerned about it because as the families have come to learn the truth of what happened there. They would like to see their fathers brothers husbands. The men who were there who were convicted unjustly in this manner they would like to have the record set straight so their names can be cleared. That's important
to the families and that will take some sort of action probably had in effect an act of Congress to get those convictions overturned because the Navy has refused to do so. Absolutely that's what happened in one thousand ninety four when the Navy had made it that there was racial discrimination it said not in the trial and therefore we're not going to overturn the convictions. I understand there's some kind of memorial there. What is it you see if you go there. Yes 19 in the time of the 50th anniversary there was a memorial established there which is a series of plaques at the at the site of the blast itself. And you can see the remnants of the old pier that was there where the two ships were tied up when the explosion occurred. And there's an effort now to make that a permanent memorial because the base itself may be closed and if that happens then what would happen to the to the memorial. So we're trying to get the memorial established as a permanent facility that would be under the control of the National Park Service. Our guest in this part of focus 580 is Robert Allen he is professor of African-American
studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California at Berkeley and if you're interested by the way reading some more on this story he's authored a book on it which is titled The Port Chicago mutiny came out in one thousand eighty nine. If you're interested in reading the book you can certainly seek it out. Questions of course are welcome questions comments too as we continue our conversation 3 3 3 9 4 5 5. Toll free 800 to 2 2 9 4 5 5. I thought it would be interesting also to have you talk about the subject of another book that you have written that is also about the experiences of African-Americans were one to do and this is a book about the experiences of one man Eddie Carter. Who was one of those who finally was given the opportunity to get involved in the front lines of combat and served I believe under General Patton. I served honorably heroically was decorated and yet apparently there are a lot of people who felt that he arguably should have received the Congressional Medal of Honor of the the top honor that we have
and that he was denied that and in fact none of the. Medals none of the grapnel Medal of Honor Honor that were given out to World War 2. None of them went to African-American soldiers not one. Yes and African-Americans had won the Medal of Honor and every other U.S. conflicts was very odd to say the least. That none won this no war 2. But Sergeant Carter sergeant Sergeant Edward Carter volunteered to go into the service as that thousands of others at this time to serve the country and was put into one of the Segregated trucking divisions. Most of the black men and women who served in the military was aware science of the service unit's trucking stevedoring cooks helpers of various kinds and some not to combat duty. And although Sergeant Carter himself it had had actually served in combat. Interestingly enough he had been in China at the time of the Japanese invasion and had fought the Japanese. He was in Spain at the time of the
the Spanish Civil War and he fought against the fascists there. So interestingly enough he had combat duty in two of the wars leading up to World War Two but the US Army didn't consider him. Adequate for combat duty never less money at the time of his being shipped overseas with the at the service unit. This coincided with the battle of the bulge which was the great German counteroffensive there which threatened the US advance. And in the wake of that devastating counter offensive which the Americans managed to turn back. There was a huge need for replacements and I wish that was a lack of replacements and so for the first time black soldiers were allowed to volunteer to serve in combat combat units. And this is how come Sergeant Carter got it and got into the war. And although interestingly enough in order to serve in a combat
unit he was stripped of his rank as a sergeant because the military didn't want any black command to have a rank that might put him above a white. Have him commanding white troops so he was stripped to private. But in the course of the war he started and General Patton's 3rd army was advancing on the Rhine and in the in that advance the column was stopped by a German artillery and Sergeant card a volunteer to take a squad of men to it. Reckon order the situation in the course of this is the two men who with him were killed he continued to advance wiped out a German machine gun nest one of the artillery positions fought himself basically single handed all day long and was wounded several times and managed to return to the American lines with two prisoners who also were able to tell the American soldier that when the American forces about the location of the German positions up ahead and help to secure Sergeant Carter's action helped to secure the advance of the American
units and in this in this campaign. So it was a heroic action most definitely. And I think anyone else would have been awarded the Medal of Honor but he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross which is an honor but as a second second rank compared to the Medal of Honor. And no black soldier was awarded the Medal of Honor doing award to him. But in the years subsequent to this and long after Sergeant Carter's death in 1963 the army basically under pressure from civil rights groups and the media and other concerned citizens went back and looked at the records again and determined that they would award the Medal of Honor posthumously to seven African-Americans who served in World War Two one of whom was Sergeant Carter. So in the end justice was done there but of course it was too late for Sergeant Carter although important very important for his family and for the community as well to have these men finally recognized as the heroes that they were.
Well this also was during the Clinton administration that the president had something to do with this. Actually he did. The president was involved in fact the families got to meet President Clinton when the at the time of the ceremony. And he was very much supportive of this. Getting the Medal of Honor for these men. Well again if you would like to read this story also our guest Robert Allen has written a book on this. It is it is a little bit more recent than the book on the Port Chicago mutiny this is a book it's titled honoring Sergeant Carter redeeming a black World War Two heroes legacy was published by almost at HarperCollins in 2003. So I'm sure that you go out and find that book again if you'd like to read that story. We have a couple of callers here who'd like to be a part of the conversation and we can do that very easily Starting with someone in listening this morning in Indiana and I believe that's on line for the toll free line. Hello hello. Yes two questions. It is sort of funny this is almost incredible takes me back to an
introductory sociology course work. A teacher gave us an outline of a man's education and that he was a Harvard grad blah blah blah you know like kind of stuff talk about his work in school and asked a question class you know what kind of job he would get. Oh yeah. I want to tell you he's black. And of course that turned the whole thing upside down and I just you know it's fun you that's taking me. Two guys through all this combat stuff and doing all the things I mean it's that's TV stuff they're almost you know he comes back and he doesn't get the medal that he should That's took me back to that real fast. Second question do we know the names of the people above those fellas at Port Arthur who made the decisions that only blacks are going to be carrying this. Presumably it's not dangerous because it doesn't have detonators I think I can certainly emotionalize about that if I were in a place that blew up and somebody had
known that there were no detonators and I would start distrusting anybody above me what was going on. I just wondered if we threw the investigations that you know those comments you know who are they are the ones that made these decisions for all this design on the public record. Also I just was wondering about that. Yes it is. OK and then in the thing about the more or less the Navy saying you know everything happened that way but we're not lifting the you know. I'm usually saying you know I just you know that's surely privations racism no doubt about that. Thanks for your work. Next thing I have in my mind I know if it's true no it wasn't the first group that went into Doc how I think. Or one of the concentration camps. Black. That's right it was a black tank division the ceremony of 60 first tank division which was an all black group because you know when blacks got into combat they were often in the segregated units. And yeah they were
the liberators and one of the concentration camps. Right. Very ironic you know in the history of Oh right so right so yeah. Thanks a lot. Thank you for calling. Do you want to talk a bit about the first question the caller asked about who are the people who were in command command. Yes well. There was we certainly know the names of the local commanders and so on and. But I don't think it's so much a question of whether they were personally racist or this was the policy of the Navy at the highest levels and it was a national policy of the military as a whole. In fact in 1041 a fellow Randolph the Great. Black labor leader confronted Franklin President Roosevelt saying that Mr. President here we are in a war against fascism and racism abroad but our own military is racially segregated this is this is a contradiction Mr. President you need to do something about it. And out of that confrontation President Roosevelt issued an executive order 8 number 8 0 2 which did in fact
desegregate it didn't desegregate the military but at least took a step and he segregated the defense plants which was an important thing because it opened up jobs for black workers then to serve in the defense plants to work in the defense plants as well. But that's I think that that tells you right there that this is this was not a so much a question what the person the commanders at the local level were doing or thinking that we're looking at a national policy that needed to be changed at the highest levels and eventually 1948 President Truman did issue an order desegregating the military. But one of the things I discovered is that that Port Chicago the work stoppage that played a role in this process because in the aftermath of the terrible explosion and then the so-called mutiny as the word got out that these were all blacks who are serving there and all blacks who are now being charged with mutiny. There was an expression of outrage from many public sector civil rights groups civil liberties groups some unions and so on. Who protested and said this this is this is unjust how can this be allowed to go on. And the Navy feeling this pressure
actually began the process of desegregation first at Port Chicago bringing in for the first time white sailors to work also on loading ammunition. And then over the next year or two they began desegregating their training facilities and finally the ships themselves. And so that by 1946 the Navy was already in the process of desegregation. Two years before Truman issued his order. And my research revealed that that was an that was a direct result of the pressure that was generated by public response to the explosion the tragedy there and then and then these men being put on trial for mutiny. So ironically although the men we can say that they're If you're going to call them to strike their staff strike failed in the sense that they didn't accomplish what you know anything at that at that point. And they ended up themselves being put in jail as as mutineers. Yet the long term effect was to precipitate the process of desegregation in the Navy. Oh I think as I remember the story was what you say is true about Harry
Truman being the one who finally signed the piece of paper that officially said. Desegregated the military that there was a lot of resistance and that it. Oh yeah it did not proceed easily or immediately it took it took a long time. It did it did. And what I saw in the research again is some ironic things is that within the Navy that within the military itself there were differing positions on what to do about the question of race discrimination and so on. And some folks in my so-called Say referred to as the Liberals were in favor of general desegregation and including secretary of state sector and the Forrestal who believe that yes even a democratic nation we should not have this kind of thing and certainly not in our own military. But the conservatives were very much committed to segregation for every kind of philosophy. But ironically in the wake of this tragedy and then the so-called mutiny for the liberals that was more evidence that we need to desegregate. But for the Conservatives interestingly enough they decided Well actually what we need to do is to
disperse these black sailors here because we group them together like this they're going to make trouble. And they go to a vote they're going to they're going to be trouble for so we're in favor for dispersing them. Ironically the two sides at this point agree they are liberals it was desegregation for the Conservatives it was dispersal. We're a bit past our midpoint here and again I'd like to use our guest Robert Allen He's adjunct professor of African-American studies and Ethnic Studies at University of California Berkeley and I do also want to mention these two books once again because if you're interested in reading these stories a little greater depth you can seek them out. One is the Port Chicago mutiny that was published in 1989 and then the other honoring Sergeant Carter that was published in 2000 and three we have another caller a couple callers to talk with let's do that. Next is line one in champagne. Hello yes Professor Allen I have done research in its area of ending his criminal nation in uniform military service is one point I'd like to write if
I am then I am very much interested in reading old books but I read a book that was very provocative. The entire No blood for dignity I cannot recall the Arctic this time on the cellphone but of basically African-Americans wanted to fly there to Maine to obtain some dignity as first class citizens in the United States. That's always been the patriotic stance of African Americans. Yes and the view the group that was focused upon in this book was a group of African-Americans who because of military necessity were given a chance to fight in the German counter-offensive the battle of the boats which I think you alluded to one specific African American. Yes. They followed bravely everyone admitted that they follow with the tenacity on its heard seen before even Germans who fought against them commented on the tenacity of the the fighting of African-Americans.
I do believe this unit or one unit all shooting may have three DeKalb but that was sort of a cover because they do not want that to be known in the United States with an African-American unit had liberated Dickau which I find very ironic but that's I guess the nature of the racism that existed back there. The part that I found very difficult in the mean very very difficult. But after the war ended in World War Two and they were interned ready to go back to the United States they were re put in re segregated units put back in the transportation units and were not allowed to march in New York City along with the wife they had fallen alongside because they reverted back to the situation before they were integrated into combat units which caused a lot of bitter bitterness to be engendered in these African-American soldiers. After reading that book and looking at how they wanted to fight for dignity I really felt very much various
Arsalan just wanted to share that aspect of this struggle for equality within the armful of services and how blacks are looked at it as a. Of obtaining dignity as first class American citizen. Yes that's a very important point and thank you for bringing that up. And as a matter of fact the man I interviewed for the book a number of them told me those who volunteered that this was their primary motive for volunteering and said they felt that by serving honorably in the military fighting for their country that this would help the process of achieving for civil and human rights for African-Americans. And it was hugely discouraging and that many of them to despair to see that even where they made some progress in the military has happened. As you point out with that group I think there were twenty two hundred men at the time of the battle of the Bulge who were then recruited and served in the fight against the Germans who served very honorably and courageously. And then after that to be returned to the segregated units.
Oh after leaving the military to return to segregated life in the United States in the see that things had not changed. I was that was very discouraging. But one of the things we can say is that many of the men who did come out of that experience did in fact helped to get the civil rights movement going in this country. And so out of that despair and discouragement that did come something that was I think helpful to the struggle. Their involvement in the fight for justice and for civil rights. OK I want to the point is that even though President Truman issued his executive order in 1991 calling for the end of discrimination or at the end of on equal treatment some seven generals are get this only man. Separate but equal yes. Eventually Truman said it meant the segregation blacks were not fully integrated into combat units until As a matter of military necessity not policy. So Korea Yes that's true once again need to
have soldiers at the United States military to accept blacks allow them to get there but the dignity of being first rate first class American citizen. That's very true and it says you know if it says something about the power of racism in our country that that the changes were not made in the interest of justice or even in the name of human humanity but as a matter of military necessity and that this is what led to the changes in when that necessity had no it was no longer there then things often simply reverted to the old practices. Absolutely for the pleasure to talk to. Thank you don't go. We'll continue here and talk next with a listener in Chicago on line for just about five or 10 minutes ago. So I may be off the mark. Haven't heard the full program but when I heard mention of racism in the Navy
I thought I offer this bit of knowledge even though it may be a little bit off the plank. I think it's vital. The officer corps prior to 1948 and probably even still to a lesser extent was made up mainly of southerners. Didn't the Navy more so than the Army of the people who went to the Naval Academy and to the military academy and West Point was selected from the pillars of society. In practically all cases in the South Pole. Where you had families who own property and that sort of thing. Property Brothers and Big Brother having property propping up to. One son was given and most of the family's was given over
to the to the property will to property and the other sons had to fend for themselves where the best place to govern is right into the military. So this is how the military became of populated the United there. Not a raid in the United States. Rest southern gentleman. And a lot of them most of the Southerners were committed to segregation. And this is why segregate. Well done so but so far so long in the military particularly in the Navy but less so than in the army. And why you why you have even now hanging on to a certain extent was known to the
military it's probably less segregated than the general population in the United States. Well I think that's a factor. Sort of the Southern factor here but I don't think that entirely explains it. I'm not saying that entirely but it's a good percentage of the reason. But that poor Chicago which is located in California. The interesting thing to me there is that a number of the sailors told me that the first time they experienced a racial segregation was in fact in the U.S. Navy at Port Chicago. That says segregation there was the policy despite the fact that in California there was no there was no general policy of racial segregation but it was introduced by the Navy itself and ironically the the one Southerner I know who was involved in that story was the defense attorney who tried to defend the men against the charges of mutiny. So I think that you know what you're saying you know there's there's certainly some important
an important point there but I think by this point in in the nation's history it had really become national policy. And so the national the national the federal government here I think has to bear some responsibility for what was happening. You know five of them are you know as an aside I was drafted into the army April 12th 1946 right after returning to us with the first anniversary of Roosevelt stuff. And. I'm from Missouri so you know I was eight o'clock in the morning. We were bussed into the church of City Armory where we stayed all day I'm told. Eight o'clock in the morning nothing to write and no rights at all in the group that I have in the armory when I was there. At least not visibly anyhow. We were trained down to fork the next cut there about ten o'clock no blacks at
all. Only one Brock after they dismissed us at about 1:00 1:30 in the morning. And there was one black one black that came into the into our barracks. He was the last guy in and he was the only black ice or in all my time at Fort Dix. Even though well those charges city in my home town they own had a very small black population maybe 1 2 percent or thereabouts in Bayonne maybe a little larger in Jersey City but the rest of New Jersey was more highly populated with blacks. And so that's the. A peculiar picture and then I was put into the game for the record and I saw no blacks when I was in the air corridor. Well thank you very much for calling in with that information. We appreciate it.
Let's go to another call here as we're getting short on time in this hour we'll go next back here locally to Urbana line one. Hello. Yeah. Every done in the study of African-Americans in academe. Yes yes. In what. Because I used to teach in Chicago at the university and I had a fair percentage of African-Americans and that seems to be for them to get ahead in academe is difficult at times is that. Sure that's certainly true. I think the public institutions are somewhat more responsive but even there there are big problems I teach at the University of California at Berkeley and there what we're seeing is that interestingly enough the student population is becoming increasingly students of color. In fact now is probably pretty much a slight majority. And to the graduate students are getting more and more graduate students of color as well. But the fact the ranks of the
faculty remain pretty much a bastion of whiteness particularly white white men. And the whole the whole the tenure process the whole way that this is organized really works against I think any prospects of real desegregation. And I think this is true not only at Berkeley but at many other U.S. universities as well. So you're right this remains a huge problem in our society because these educational institutions should be really I think reflective of the populations that they are serving. And while we're making some progress there but not without some big setbacks too in terms of the segregating the student population the ranks of the faculty are still remain pretty much segregated. Well the other one is this trend. Tenured positions across the board in some places what is it up to maybe 50 percent junk faculty or part time faculty and all that even makes the
situation worse. Yes well I'm an adjunct myself so quite familiar with that. But yeah at a number of institutions where they is where you see more people of color in the ranks of the lecturers whose employment situation is very precarious and of course they make have a higher teaching load and or faculty lower pay than regular faculty. And then in the as you point out in the in the adjunct the ranks of the adjunct faculty. But then this is something that really must change. But the way it is changing as you point out in terms of bringing people into these adjunct Electra ranks means that a lot of the burden of teaching is being shifted to these folks. But the benefits and the salary they are not seeing. Thank you for your comment and thank you. Let's go to someone else this is champagne line too. Hello yes i wanted men.
The paper rock community that did get to 7 Europe got to have a G.I. Bill. I wonder if they're there but I have to take advantage of that to Radek Stepanek people then could turn around and get jobs after they did get said to great. I don't have any figures on that. Some were able to take advantage of the G.I. bill but the anecdotal evidence I have is that many were not and that things that helped other men coming out of the service like small business loans and so on generally African-Americans were not could not avail themselves of these opportunities. The educational opportunities some were able to take advantage of that. But again because of the continuing discrimination in the general society even even where they were able to take advantage of the G.I. bill they but not necessarily able to
convert that then into a better life for themselves. Yes I'm familiar with one situation like that. It was very difficult for that person to get a job. Yes even a degree. Thank you Laura. Thank you. We're down here to maybe we have about five minutes left and there are many other things that we could talk about. I would be interested in having you talk just a little bit about C.L. Dellums. This is a man who was involved in leading the the union of sleeping car port orders which I think is a really it's an interesting story it's certainly an interesting piece of American labor history but I think it's a great story in of itself how the lives of those men what they did how they organized and so forth. It's really an amazing story because all these men will call Pullman porters they worked on the sleeping cars which were so important in terms of the national transportation system people traveling back and forth from city to city and across the continent you know to do that comfortably you had these sleeping cars are operated by the Pullman
Company and the man who operated that company George Pullman decided that the best people to work on those is terms of servants and porters and so on were black men he had only almost exclusively black men in those positions so it was a segregated job low paying job very little benefits long hours and so on until they began organizing the union and 19 25 and succeeded in doing so. And it became the first all black not the first all black team but the first nationally organized all black. Labor Union and it had a tremendous importance for labor history in this country because they also once they organized the Union successfully they began pushing for desegregation in the AFL CIO. Many unions were segregated. Didn't allow blacks at all. And they also the union also became very much involved in the civil rights struggle. Mr. Dellums was one of those who did so because if you stop and think about it if you've got a group of men traveling back and forth across the country every day that's sort of a natural communication
network. And also if these men are experienced in organizing a trade union which is very difficult work that experience could also be transferred to the civil rights struggle. So a number of these men including Mr. Dellums and others in particular in the south. Play that important leadership role in the development of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. So the union had influence far beyond just the labor movement itself it had an enormous influence far beyond its numbers which are only about 12000 in our society as a whole because it provided leadership for the struggle for civil rights and human rights. And as I pointed out in the example with Mr. Roosevelt with Mr. Randolph confronting Mr. Roosevelt President Roosevelt It also affected national policy because that desegregation order issued by Roosevelt opened up tens of thousands of jobs to African and where America works to women workers to other workers of color. It was something that was hugely beneficial to our society. And it's amazing that this one
union Tenet 12000 man was able to accomplish these kinds of things but it certainly did. And riffle A proud of a Philip Randolph was that in that case and but he's not sure he was the head of the. He was the head of the Union and he and that he was the man who as you say went to President Roh when drunk when Roosevelt said look you you've got to do something about the issue of segregation in the military so that says something about the political significance of his political position the fact that he was at least in a position to talk to the president and to deliver that kind of right and I think the president listened to him because he realized he had successfully organized this powerful union which it confronted a very powerful corporation and compelled them to negotiate. So when a Philip Randolph said that he could bring 10000 hundred thousand people to Washington the protests I think Mr. Roosevelt took that seriously. And you know interestingly enough years late in 1983 it was a Philip Randolph who was one of the organizers of the great civil rights march on Washington in
1963. So even though it's called often 41 They brought it off in 63. We're just about THE POINT we're going to stop I know that you're here to talk about. About Kenneth Clark. Do you want to say just something about. Well this is the 40th anniversary of the publication of his classic book Dark Ghetto which is one of the first studies of African-American the plight of African-American communities looked at from the standpoint of these communities as being like colonies in internal colonies domestic colonies in the United States. And that's the metaphor that he uses in describing the black the Dark Ghetto He says these are these are like educational social economic colonies. And they say and they suffered basically under development as the way colonies in the Third World have been developed so it's a very powerful analogy that he used there and it got a lot of people sorry I think myself included about this notion of internal colonialism of
domestic colonialism which affects not only African-Americans but if you think about it Native Americans Chicanos in barrios and Asian-Americans too I mean what a Chinatown Japantown is if not simply internal colonies. Well we're going to have to stop it by the way. Our guest for this morning Dr. Robert Allen will be talking about this very subject that he just touched on here. He's here visiting the campus as a visit sponsored by the Afro-American studies and research program the beginning of this talk are participating in a panel discussion on this work of kind of Clark this afternoon at four o'clock and Lucy Ellis Alonzo assume anyone who was interested in attending should stop by Also our guest Robert Allen has authored a number of books and if you're interested in reading some more about the experience of African-Americans in service in World War 2 you might look for that the two books that we have mentioned the Port Chicago mutiny that was published in 1909 and more recently honoring Sergeant Carter redeeming a black World War Two hero's legacy that was published in 2000 and three. Our guest Robert Allen
The Black Scholar, Kenneth Clarks Dark Ghetto, Reassessing The Relevance Of The Internal Colonialis
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With Robert L. Allen (Professor of African American Studies and Ethnic Studies at the University of California Berkeley)
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Chicago: “Focus; The Black Scholar, Kenneth Clarks Dark Ghetto, Reassessing The Relevance Of The Internal Colonialis ,” 2005-02-01, WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 10, 2019,
MLA: “Focus; The Black Scholar, Kenneth Clarks Dark Ghetto, Reassessing The Relevance Of The Internal Colonialis .” 2005-02-01. WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 10, 2019. <>.
APA: Focus; The Black Scholar, Kenneth Clarks Dark Ghetto, Reassessing The Relevance Of The Internal Colonialis . Boston, MA: WILL Illinois Public Media, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from