The Black Panthers and the Vietnam war

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Book Chapter

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This chapter highlights Vietnam-era race relations by looking through the prism of the Black Panther Party, an organization founded in Oakland, California, in 1966, whose stated goals included defending black communities from police brutality and murder, developing selfreliance among blacks, and creating programs to serve the various social needs of African Americans. This chapter will not repeat previous scholarship concerning the role of black soldiers in Vietnam-that they served on the front lines at rates disproportionate to their number in the general population, that racial turmoil and discrimination were rampant on bases throughout Vietnam, and that blacks were dishonorably discharged at higher rates than whites, among many other racially inequitable statistics. What it does do, however, is show that black participation in Vietnam was critical to the political maturity of many blacks throughout the United States. In time, the Vietnam War came to represent a crucial turning point in how many blacks viewed themselves and the world around them.

Publication Title

America and the Vietnam War: Re-examining the Culture and History of a Generation

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