One of the first Army bases to implement on a large scale President Truman’s call for racial integration of the armed forces, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, quickly took its place in the Defense Department’s official history of the process. What reporters, and later on, historians, overlooked was the interaction between the integration of Fort Jackson and developments, in particular, the civil rights movement, in the wider communities in which the base is situated.In Black, White, and Olive Drab, Andrew H. Myers redresses this oversight; taking a case-study approach, Myers meticulously weaves together a wide range of official records, newspaper accounts, and personal interviews, revealing the impact of Fort Jackson’s integration on the desegregation of civilian buses, schools, housing, and public facilities in the surrounding area. Examining the ways in which commanders and staff at the installation navigated challenges over racial issues in their dealings with municipal authorities, state politicians, federal legislators, and the upper echelons of the military bureaucracy, Myers also addresses how post leaders dealt with the potential for participation in civil rights demonstrations by soldiers under their command. Original and provocative, Black, White, and Olive Drab will engage historians and sociologists who study military-social relations, the civil rights movement, African American history, and the South, as well as those who are interested in or familiar with basic training or the American armed forces.
"Most investigations of race relations in the United States have focused on either the racial integration of the armed forces or the impact of the civil rights movement on society at large. Andrew Myers, however, addresses the relationship between the integration of the races at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and the campaign to achieve civil rights for African Americans at the nearby city of Columbia. His scrupulously researched, tightly organized, and clearly written narrative will inspire historians and sociologists while enlightening and entertaining the average reader.—Bernard C. Nalty is the author of Strength for the Fight: A History of Black Americans in the Armed Forces and coeditor with Morris J. MacGregor of Blacks in the Military: Essential Documents, amongst numerous other works"Revealing new information about how the armed forces integrated and how military bases interacted with their civilian communities in the American South, Black, White, and Olive Drab illuminates an important aspect of history in South Carolina and the nation. With this book, Andrew Myers makes an original and significant contribution to military history, civil rights history, the history of race relations, southern history, and the genre of local or community studies.
Andrew H. Myers is Associate Professor of American Studies and History at the University of South Carolina Upstate. He holds a commission as an infantry officer with more than twenty years of combined active and reserve service in the U.S. Army.