"You want to win that fight, with those drunk boys? Be a better soldier than they are. Fight the long fight. Fight to win. Here in the Army, you already won most of it. You just have to be the best, do your best, and don't be running off to fight some honkey shithead just because he called you a name. Win! All of you! Win this fight! Use your heads, not your hands."
I don’t know about anyone else, but I was gobstopped. I hadn’t thought about any of this stuff. Over the next decades, I gradually learned how hundreds of thousands of Black soldiers had fought for the Union, and came back home to the Klan and institutional segregation. How Black soldiers from WWI came back to the same shit. How Red Ball Express and Red Tails came back from the first modern War, WWII, to ante-bellum crap, not just in the South but all over the country.
I suppose I should’ve been concerned about the mistreatment of all minorities, but it was the soldiers that hit home with me. Are you kiddin’ me? Is that how you treat someone defending your right to be a racist dickhead? I was ready to march into every city in the US and give ‘em the Truman treatment - straighten up, or else.
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