TransAfrica Forum Issue Brief
(Vol. 4, No. 1)
by TransAfrica Forum
Washington, DC, United States
Contents: THE BLACK SOLDIER AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY • PROFILE: MALIK EDWARDS, BLACK VIETNAM VETERAN • BLACKS IN AMERICA'S MILITARY: AN HISTORICAL SKETCH • REAGANWATCH: HOT SPOTS AROUND THE THIRD WORLD • This ISSUE BRIEF presents an historical overview of the critical role black soldiers have played in the prosecution of U.S. foreign policies. Alfred Griffin is interviewed; in November 1983 as a corporal in the U.S. Marines Corps, he refused to join his unit in Lebanon and to fight in Grenada. Griffin was charged with being "AWOL under thirty days" and for "Missing a Movement”; he is currently appealing conviction on these charges. Malik Edwards, was one of the first black Americans to go to Vietnam, in 1965, is also profiled. Edwards' odyssey has taken him from the rural South, to Vietnam, to the Black Panther Party, and finally to self-expression through his artwork and community service in Washington, D.C. While black Americans have had practically no input in the formulation of U.S. foreign policies, they have served in the military as instruments for the implementing these policies. Since the founding of the Republic, the black soldier has fought in every war America has prosecuted. Throughout U.S. history, black soldiers have experienced humiliation, discrimination, violence, and the indifference of a less-than-grateful society. Increasingly, Blacks in the military have had to consider how far they should go to promote U.S. interest or impose the will of the U.S. on Third World peoples. The recent U.S. intervention in Lebanon and the invasion of Grenada brought this issue to the forefront. The Reagan administration's constructive engagement policy and its growing closeness with the apartheid regime, which it sees as a bulwark against communism, also raise this question, in the event the regime's control becomes shaky. The newsletter mentions the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, slavery, the Union Army, Congressman Gus Hawkins, the black 25th Infantry Regiment, the 369th Infantry Division, and TransAfrica staff Niikwao Akuetteh, Ibrahim J. Gassama, Mwiza Munthali, Mark R. Quarterman, Perrin B. Reid, and Randall Robinson.
Used by permission of TransAfrica Forum.
Collection: William Minter Southern Africa Papers