ERIC Number: EJ751764
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Reference Count: 67
"Keep Our Black Warriors out of the Draft": The Vietnam Antiwar Movement at Southern University, 1968-1973
Cox, Marcus S.
Educational Foundations, v20 n1-2 p123-144 Win-Spr 2006
During the late 1960s and early 70s, the antiwar movement gained momentum and introduced a new wave of protest and demonstrations throughout the nation. At many colleges and universities, military training programs were discontinued or in jeopardy of losing their appeal. Much of the violence that did involve students on Black campuses directly related to civil rights protest or demonstrations involving administrative policies, not military training. Compulsory ROTC was only mentioned in addition to other civil rights issues and university complaints. This study attempts to document the anti-war and ROTC protest movement at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), in particular Southern University between 1968 and 1973. Between those years, the war in Vietnam caused many of the social and political problems in American society. The war unleashed political tensions between "hawks" and "doves", generational divisions between young adults and middle-aged Americans, and political struggles between pacifist and cold warriors. On the campuses of Black colleges and universities, the antiwar movement divided the student body and faculty on many issues. Antiwar supporters focused on political and ideological reasons not to support the war or military training, while pro-military advocates concentrated on the social and economic advantages of military service. Despite all the oppositions, by 1952, 13 Black colleges and universities in nine different states submitted applications to the Department of Defense for the establishment of senior military training programs (Memorandum, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense to Major General Hugh M. Milton, 1952 December 22). African-American college presidents were particularly interested in: (1) Increasing the number of ROTC programs in colleges for Negroes and in high schools for Negroes in states where separate educational institutions exist[ed] for Negro and White people to the end that more Negro youth may receive the military training and acquire leadership benefits from such training; (2) Increasing the pay, benefits, and grants-in-aid to ROTC and NROTC students of all groups; and (3) Pointing up the military and citizenship obligations of person involved in the total ROTC and NROTC program. (Memorandum, The Executive Committee of the Conference of Presidents of Land-Grant Colleges for Negroes to The U.S. Office of Education, 1948 April 2). The establishment of military training programs on Black college campuses during the post-war era strengthened the link between military service and training as a citizenship obligation and the quest for African-American civil rights.
Descriptors: Foreign Countries, Young Adults, War, Military Service, Civil Rights, Faculty College Relationship, African Americans, African American Influences, Black Colleges, African American Attitudes, Asian History, Activism, Social Problems, Police, Military Training, Racial Discrimination
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Louisiana; Vietnam