The Exclusion of Black Soldiers from the Medal of Honor in World War II

The Study Commissioned by the United States Army to Investigate Racial Bias in the Awarding of the Nation’s Highest Military Decoration


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About the Book

The purpose of this study, commissioned by the Army, was to document the process by which the Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded from December 7, 1941, through September 1, 1948; to identify units in which African Americans served; to identify by name all black soldiers whose names were submitted for the medal and to document any errors in the processing of their nominations; and to compile a list of all black soldiers who received the Distinguished Service Cross, the second highest award. Based on this work, in January 1997 President Clinton awarded seven African Americans the Medal of Honor. The authors were selected by Shaw University of Raleigh, North Carolina, to conduct this study under a United States Army contract.

About the Author(s)

Elliott V. Converse lives in Evergreen, Colorado.
Daniel K. Gibran is a professor of international relations at Tennessee State University, Nashville. He lives in Port Saint Lucie, Florida.
The late John A. Cash lived in Ft. Washington, Maryland.
Robert K. Griffith lives in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Richard H. Kohn is a professor of military history at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He lives in Durham, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

Elliott V. Converse , Daniel K. Gibran, John A. Cash, Robert K. Griffith and Richard H. Kohn
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 27 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008 [1997]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4044-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0732-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Foreword by Julius W. Becton, Jr.       1
Preface      3
Executive Summary      7

1 Introduction      15
2 Blacks in the U.S. Army in World War II: An Overview      21
3 Medal of Honor Award Policies and Practices, 1941–48      37
4 Valor Awards to Black Soldiers in the European Theater of Operations      69
5 Valor Awards to Black Soldiers and Airmen in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations      93
6 Valor Awards to Black Soldiers in the Paci?c and in the China-Burma-India Theater      139
7 Black Recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross in World War II      167
8 Conclusions and Recommendations      179

Bibliography      185
Index      191

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Significant”—MultiCultural Review
  • “Investigates the reasons why no African American soldiers were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in World War II”—C&RL News
  • “Careful investigation”—Washington Times
  • “This explosive and highly recommended book is well worth reading”—Air Power History
  • “Examines the vagaries of the nomination process for the Medal of Honor in Europe, the Mediterranean and the Pacific, and highlights cases where exceptional bravery on the part of black combatants might have warranted higher commendation”—American Studies.