The Negro Soldier, 1944


music playing (choir singing) Thank you, soldier my prepared text today was to have been make thy name be remembered in all
generations but I think I’m going to depart from my prepared sermon while I was listening to the sergeant’s
solo I kept looking up at our service flag I was thinking of the men in service I see some of them here this morning Private Roberts Sergeant Jackson Leutenant Carter and uh…um.. Private Parks, First class.
First class is right. I was over at the USO the other
night And I met somebody I hadn’t seen quite a
long time the last time I saw this man well, one of my members treated me to a ticket
to Yankee stadium to see Joe Louis vs. Max Schmeling In one minute and 49 seconds, an American fist won a victory but it wasn’t the final victory No, that victory’s going to take a little longer and a whole lot more American fists. Now those two men that were matched in the ring that night are matched again this time in a far greater arena and for much greater stakes Max Schmeling, a paratrooper in the Nazi army men, turned into machine challenging the world Joe Louis training for the fight of his life this time it’s a fight not between man
and man but between nation and nation to fight for the real championship of
the world to determine which way of life shall
survive their way or our way and this time we must see to it that there is no return engagement for the stakes this time are the greatest men have ever fought for and what are the stakes? the American stakes The German stakes, the bible of the Nazis the gospel according to Hitler I’m not going to read all of this but there are one or two things in this book that will interest you I quote, “what is denied to us the German fist must take if our forefathers had made their
decisions by the same pacifist nonsense as the present day does we would possess but a third of our existing territory.” further he says, “from time to time the illustrated papers show how a negro has become a lawyer, a teacher, perhaps even a minister it never dawns on the degenerate
middle-class America that this is truly a sin against all reason that it is criminal madness to train a born half ape until one believes one has made a lawyer of him.” this book was written twenty years ago the plan which it foreshadowed has become a reality and the Nazis now instruct their disciples in terms such as these “we must strive by any means to conquer
the world. Any methods are permissable: lie betray, kill kill and kill again kill the Slavs, the Russians, the Poles, the Czechs don’t stop whether you have an old man, a woman a girl or boy, kill if we want to create our great German empire we must exterminate everybody who stands
against us” the liberty of the whole earth depends on the outcome of this contest Americans have always guarded liberty the seed took root in Boston in that city is the Granary Burial Ground 1660 within this ground are buried the victims of the Boston Massacre March 5, 1770 the first to die in the Boston Massacre was Crispus Attucks Long as freedom’s cause the wise contend dear to our country shall your fame extend while to the world the lettered stone shall tell Where Caldwell, Attucks, Gray, and Maverick fell At Concord Bridge, Sam Craft and John Cleret helped to fire the shot heard round the world At Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775, gun belonged to Peter Salem a colored man who carried it at Lexington, Concord, and Bunker Hill and with it shot Major Pitcairn and on Christmas day 1776 when all but the bravest hearts had lost hope Prince Whipple took his place alongside those who pushed on in the winter of ’78 at Valley Forge George Washington wrote our soldiers have been a week without food they are naked and starving we cannot enough admire their unshakable patience and loyalty Here Samuel Haynes, Samuel Poor and thousands of others that left their bleeding footprints in the snow In this war, the people of the new world won their independence. They joined hands and thirteen colonies became the United States then the people of the new republic began to build together they pioneered, and together they made territories into states By 1812, a wilderness was becoming a great nation. Then came war. At Lake Erie, Siler Thompson heard Admiral Curry’s immortal words We have met the enemy and they are ours And in New Orleans, when General Jackson said By the Eternal they not sleep on our soil Thomas Wilson was there America began to build ships. Then came 1861 A government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from this earth with malice toward none with charity for all Then America began to rebuild (singing I’ve Been Working on the Railroad) Hello boss, hello Frank, take care of everything, you know what I mean.
What’s the matter, Jim? You’re quitting?
Man, I’m going to Cuba. Cuba?
Yeah, with the 9th Regmin.
The United States cavelry Jim fought in the Spanish-American war At Santiago, Cuba the 9th and 10th cavalry the 24th and 25th infintry added to their long record new medals in courage and gallantry I am Jim after we cleaned up in cuba We went on with building factories, cities, everything as for me well, I went to Panama to help on a little job A little job, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific. A little job. And in France, Jim wasn’t there, but his sons were serving with the 813th pioneer regiment near Marseille the 332nd labor battalion and the 808th pioneer regiment near Verdunnes fighting with the 8th illinois on the soixantes front 372nd, on the planes of Monthois 371st at Bussy Ferme and the 369th in the Argonne 369th caught on the line of fire for 191 days not a man ever kept not a foot of ground ever lost the first american troop to receive the croix de guere, the 369th and for action above and beyond the call of duty many received honor medals when they cleaned up in France, the boys came marching home among them was Henry Johnson who was one companion, Needam Roberts killed four and captured twenty eight Germans for which the french nation decorated them for exceptional bravery and there were those among the honored at Arlington Samuel Washington, Walter Waters, William Fox, John Simms, Young Charles Young, Colonel, United States Army and to their memory sermons and stone and wrong tributes of a grateful nation to commemorate their heroism and sacrifice of all colored soldiers who served in the various wars engaged in by the united states of
america that a lasting record shall be made of their unselfish
devotion to duty And in France at Bussy Ferme, the french people erected a memorial to the 371st infantry
the three hundred seventy percent this stone and the ground on which it says
are dedicated to the negro troops who fought and died here on April 21, 1918 twenty three years later on June the fifteenth 1941 and invading german army Yes, the Nazis destroyed our monuments in france but our monuments here stand and will always stand the founder of Tuskegee Institute Booker T. Washington 1856 1915 he lifted the veil of ignorance from his
people and pointed the way to progress through
education and industry the late George Washington Carver honored in the chemistry of agriculture and the men and women building the
monuments of tomorrow law, elected judge in New York City courts serving his second ten-year term explorer, the only other american with Admiral Curry when our flag was planted on the north pole medicine, leading New York City surgeons father of the grooves financier and publish contributing to the war bond drive education principal of a New York City public school curator, Schaumburg collection of literature international prize winning sculptor, singer men and women of every walk of life, trained and educated in schools like Howard, Hampton, Tuskeegee, Prairie View, Fisk (singing) The Olympic games have begun The best athletes in the world have come to Berlin and 51 nations are represented here today the six fastest sprinters in the world are getting ready: Owens, America; Germany; and Metcalfe of America The men’s high jump.
America Japan Johnson of America, a new Olympic record of six feet eight inches the tree of liberty has born these fruits it’s a mighty tree with roots deep in the ground of America it’s fame has spread to the four corners of
the earth men of every faith, color and talent that helped to nourish it sow it’s seed in new ground all men stand in admiration of it except the Nazis, the fascists, and Japanese militarists; the pillars of the new order there is not a man alive who does not know of the crimes of these adventurers in Europe by order of the German army high command thousands of innocent men women and children have been shot and hanged in Asia the Japanese army there are those who will tell you that Japan is the savior of the colored races December the 7th, 1941 the people of the world have risen in one great mass to bring to justice the ringleaders responsible for these crimes in America’s army in every branch of the service: artillery, tank quartermaster engineer…
Don’t forget the infantry
Yes? My boy’s in the infantry he’s up there – third from the left in the bottom row i got a letter from him last night, he’s an officer Robert? Did he get to be an officer?
Yes. He says so right here Dear Mama, At last it’s happened: I’m an officer leutentant Robert A Bronson doesn’t it sound good? of course I haven’t gotten my bars yet but I’m on my way to officer’s candidate
school for four months and if I pass the examination and graduate and get my commission I’ll be an officer now I can do it, mama If I could go through those first thirteen weeks that way i did I can go through anything that morning at the railroad depot I didn’t know which side was up, but misery sure loves company. When I said goodbye to you, I was laughing but I sure wasn’t tickled and the first thing I heard when I stopped at some place in the middle of noplace Alright men, on behalf of the united states army, the reception center here at this camp we’re glad to welcome you here today and
into the united states army we’re glad to see all of your happy, smiling faces Now fellas, during the few days you’re with us here at this camp you’ll be converted from a civilian into
a full-fledged soldier you’ll be interviewed by someone who
inquire into your past life before you came into the army You were a machinist in the construction of guns and gun parts?
That’s right. what machines did you operate? I operated boring mills, tool grinders, drill presses, planes, and… but I don’t want to give you the
impression that it’s only for religious services and advice that you can come to the Chaplain. You can come to him at any time For example, if you get in trouble with your girlfriend she doesn’t write you anymore and you want to propose, why just write to the chaplain and he’ll give you some advice or if you get into trouble with your first sergeant and you want to know how to handle him. just come around and see your chaplain and he’ll give you some advice or if you’re financially embarrassed why that’s simple too just come around and see the chaplain he’ll give you some advice Now Chaplain Sherman has just told you how to get around in this man’s army it’s my painful duty to tell you what will happen to you if you don’t get along regarding the salute, men it isn’t a form of civility it’s merely a form of recognition here between members of the military service the average man when he first learns to salute, is awkward it’s a strange gesture to him and he feels shy he usually sneaks his hand up in this manner and gives the broken handed salute or lowers his eyes gently like a shy maiden and salutes like that when you salute an officer, stand erect like a soldier bring your hand up to your forehead in a military manner tip of the forefinger above the center of the right eye make sure your thumb is alongside your hand because if it’s out here they may misconstrue it then cut the hand sharply to the side, don’t let it drop like a dead fish sit down, put your feet in the machine ten and a half stand up now, pick up both weights put the weights back, sit down step down, put your shoes on and go in the next room alright men strip down completely, put every piece of civilian clothing you have into that bag now when you’re completely stripped and have everything into that bag put on a set of summer underwear a pair of shorts, a pair of white woolen socks alright, you’ll try on your green herringbone fatigue hat first that’s the green hat with the brim on it, try it on if it fits, place it into your barracks bag, now don’t mind if it’s a little loose But I made it all of us made it they put us through so many twist and turns we didn’t know whether we were coming or going but Uncle Sam did; we were going. he put us on the train that same afternoon for the replacement center we kept passing troupe trains going back and forth all over the country we finally arrived at a place called military secret but this much I can tell you, it was cold and even before we had a chance to thaw out they had us in the school of the solider the sergeant gave it to us straight you sleep in that bed, you make it you wear them clothes, you wash ’em you walk on that floor, you clean it there’s no service here, you understand that? and I bet right now, Mama I can make a bed better than you can but before I had the chance to get the bed warm, there I was in the beginning, the new hands were all feet (shouting commands) then came the cross-country marching it was tough; hiking, drilling, tent-pitching, general orders the tougher the day, the shorter the night but do you get used to it and if you can’t take it they got doctors some of the best in the country specialist in every field and in our dental clinic, we have a WAC but even so, this is one kind of drilling no soldier likes but after all the making bed peeling potatoes and drilling and marching they give you a rifle and teach you to shoot it in no time at all, I could hit the broad side of a bus. It was fun; it’s not all work – there’s football, baseball boxing, and oh yes ping-pong if you want to read, there’s a library can you imagine me listening to poetry but it came in good the very next day i
got a chance to use it we were sent on a detail to a nearby camp I saw some soldiering that was beautiful to behold and you better tell Uncle Evertt to quit joking about the WACs because these girls know more about jeeps and trucks than he’ll ever know and the next day was Saturday night she was very nice, Mama a real apple pie girl just the right size and everything, just the kind you like but in the army men proposes and GI disposes and the next morning I was up just like the rest of them, getting tough in this man’s army they want you to be tough but tough, and I mean tough and tough in the army means a good fighter who can stand up against an enemy and beat him to the draw and after a hard week, a soldier welcomes a Sunday this morning I have a G.I. report I think you’ll all be interested in this is an official statement from the War Department in the present World War they are more than five times as many men with high school education in our armed forces than were in World War I this has meant an increase in officer
candidates official figures tell us in the present war, there are three times
as many colored officers as in World War I from a score of different schools men have earned their commissions and taken their place alongside those who come from any one of hundreds of ROTC schools and the greatest of all military
institutions, West Point Mama, the next time you see me I’ll be wearing an officer’s uniform ready to get in there and get this war over with that’s a promise your loving son, Robert thank you, Mrs. Bronson that’s a promise millions of americans have made thousands have put it into action in every camp men are getting their final workout at Tuskegee, more pilots are earning their wings in a short while, these young officers will be full-fledged combat flyers taking their place at the controls of our fighter planes today, high above their native land they fly tomorrow, what a surprise the Nazis will get black, brown, yellow and white men all American, land on the air fields of Berlin and Tokyo in the far North, seasoned soldiers are toughening themselves for they know in the fight against all that is evil, troops must be ready, ready to strike hard and often no waiting for weather or temperature any weather can be good weather, any temperature can be right when men know the meaning of their job and are determined to get it done, come what may and the men we knew as tailors, printers, bricklayers, cooks, entertainers, carpenters, bellboys, schoolteachers, farmers are today, soldiers in modern army tank men, gunners, and radio operators, motor mechanics every man schooled in meaning of teamwork, every man qualified to replace any of his teammates at any time every man ready to do his share the engineers the fighting builders ready to build bridges, highways, railroads, landing fields. Quartermaster who moves troops and supplies, who provides food, fuel and clothing the men who supply the means of
communication: telegraph, telephone and radio. The cavelry, ready to patrol, scout and canvass The tank destroyers, ready for swift and decisive action hard-hitting antiaircraft ready to knock zeros out of the sky and the infantry men the backbone of the army this training has met the acid test of war across the pacific across the atlantic the shadow of defeat hangs over the Axis partners As the Allies liberate town after town, But the job isn’t finished, this is only the beginning to win the final victory over Germany and Japan our blows must be dealt harder and faster and with all our strength there can be no let-up in the flow of supplies more and more food, equipment and ammunition must reach our troops in the battle areas more airports, landing fields, docks, bridges and roads must be built. Our troops must build them through the swamps of the South Pacific the snows of the far North, over the mountains of India, and across the rivers of Europe build them in record time and under enemy fire build them right into the heart of Berlin and Tokyo Robert Brooks, Colin Kelly, Myer Lavine Dorey Miller soldiers who knew no fear, men who would defend even unto death the land of their birth soldiers who believed in this great country to the enemy, our country is something to destory our homes our right to worship god our little belongings something to crush, to shackle, to plunder Oh God, we thank you for this land which our fathers helped to build grant that we may with your help be worthy of this heritage and in our turn enrich it for our children so that government of the people by the people for the people shall not perish from this earth (singing Onward Christian Soldier)

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