Wednesday, November 10, 2010
The Black Soldier: 1492 to the Present by Catherine Clinton
When 14-year-old free black James Forten was captured by the British during the Revolutionary War and offered freedom in return for his service, he replied, “I’m a prisoner for my country and I’ll never be a traitor to her.” In The Black Soldier, Catherine Clinton chronicles the experience of black soldiers in America, from the earliest days of exploration to the first Gulf War. Not only are the men and women formally enlisted in the nation’s armed forces discussed, but also featured are the enslaved who fought for their own freedom against their masters and military forces. Chronologically ordered, each chapter is organized around a particular conflict. The writing is accessible and chapters are often only five pages of text, making them easily adaptable to a single class lesson. Also included are engaging black and white photographs from the period. This book would make an excellent supplement to almost any US History lesson because it spans such a broad time period. Not only will students gain knowledge of larger historical events, but also concrete information on how these events effected the men and women involved in them directly. The Black Soldier is highly recommended to celebrate Veterans Day.--Anne Lotito Schuh
Clinton, Catherine. The Black Soldier: 1492 to the Present. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000.