Date of Award


Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Academic Program

History BA



First Advisor

Kevin Greene, Ph.D.

Advisor Department



This thesis explores African American viewpoints about the Japanese, from just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor up to Allied occupation of Japan after the Second World War. The primary sources for this thesis include Black newspapers, the papers of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as oral histories from African American veterans. The goal of this research is to provide a historical view of the African American perspective, both in the United States and abroad. This thesis also aims to fill the gap in the scholarship on this topic by bringing different groups of African Americans into the discussion about the Japanese. The central finding of this thesis is that African Americans’ viewpoints varied during this time. Before Pearl Harbor, some were supportive of the Japanese because they felt they had a common cause against white dominance. After Pearl Harbor and through the end of the war, most African Americans were supportive of the American war effort even as they faced discrimination in the military and Jim Crow at home. Through their service in the Pacific theatre and in the occupation army, many black service men came to see past white American hatred of Japanese and realized that the Japanese people had been deceived by their own government and they were not so different from themselves.

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