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The Change For Minority Groups After World War Ii

2053 words - 9 pages

World War II brought enormous change for minority groups in America. African Americans were discriminated against in the Navy and through the army’s War Department, despite discrimination being banned in the Selective Service Act. The War Department stated that allowing African Americans serve together with whites would lower the morale of the white officers (“The Home Front”). In the book “The Home Front,” the author states, “Many top officials also believed, without any supporting evidence, that African Americans were not brave and disciplined enough to serve in combat units, even if they were segregated from whites.” This was to be completely disproven by the heroic actions of many African Americans, and their skill in fighting. The desegregation of the United States’ military resulted in newfound respect and reverence towards African Americans. Through the leadership skills of General Benjamin O. Davis, the successes of the Tuskegee Airmen and their willingness to overcome racism, and the heroism of Doris Miller and Leonard Harmon, the American public was able to understand the aptitude and perseverance of African Americans.
General Benjamin O. Davis Jr., son of General Benjamin O. Davis Sr., trained with the first class of Tuskegee Airmen to be accepted for Air Corps training. During pilot training, rumors of Davis’s ability began circling. One officer was quoted as saying that Davis seemed to be called to Commander of the ninety-ninth squadron out of nowhere. Another officer said Davis was nowhere near as skilled a pilot as George S. Roberts, a Captain who had already proven his leadership experience. Despite all of these claims, Davis graduated from the program and received his pilot wings. In May of 1942, Davis was promoted two ranks to lieutenant colonel within a two-week period (“Benjamin”). One of Davis’s close friends was quoted as saying Davis was “respected by most” and “hated by many” (“Benjamin”). But it was by Davis’s sheer leadership skills alone that the ninety-ninth squadron was able to make the records that it did (“Benjamin”). General Davis faced two major problems with the ninety-ninth squadron: the pilots had little experience and Davis did not have the ability to assign white pilots to the squadron. Davis overcame both by receiving three volunteer white pilots to assist in training of the all black squadron. In June of 1943 the ninety-ninth was assigned to the 332 Fighter Group whose commander later carped the Tuskegee airmen as not being forceful enough, and gave all credit to the white fighter units (“Benjamin”). Soon after this incident, charges were filed against the ninety-ninth for being “inferior,” and these charges recommended that all black squadrons be assigned to non-combat positions. Davis was able to counter the charges, calling them “erroneous and racist” (“Benjamin”). Davis was soon after assigned as full commander of the 332 Fighter Group. When the general of the 15th Strategic Air Force expressed need...

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