Fighting in the Jim Crow Army by Morehouse

Fighting in the Jim Crow Army by Maggie Morehouse

Maggie Morehouse (2007) opines early in Fighting in the Jim Crow Army that the Plessy v. Ferguson decision of 1896, wherein America codified “separate-but-equal,” was still in effect by the time of WWII. The effects of the Supreme Court decision would impact the lives of black Americans for the next half century — especially in the armed forces, which were segregated until 1947. Morehouse goes on to detail the trials and complications for black soldiers in the segregated Army, as remembered by the black men and women who lived through those times. This paper will examine the most significant aspects of Morehouse’s work, and provide a detailed look at the stories therein that shaped the people and the structure of the 92nd and 93rd all-black active divisions.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Fighting in the Jim Crow Army by Morehouse
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

Morehouse asserts right away that the policy of segregation “failed to produce military efficiency,” (p. 4). Not only was it demoralizing, but it added an economic burden to the military system as well when separate buildings and facilities had to be constructed — such as those at Ft. Huachuca. However, when Rep. Hamilton Fish introduced a bill in 1940 that “allowed the president to assign men — white or black — to various units within the army,” Secretary of War Harry Woodring objected that such a measure would demoralize troops and weaken the military infrastructure (p. 4). While Congress stalled to let blacks serve alongside whites, the number of blacks who saw active duty was significantly less than the ratio of blacks to whites among the general population.

Despite the fact that blacks had difficulty simply being able to fight for the United States, Morehouse notes that many of them remained loyal and patriotic. Famous boxer Joe Louis exemplified such characteristics when he said, “There may be a whole lot wrong with America, but there’s nothing that Hitler can fix” (p. 8). Such an attitude was not uncommon to find among the black population. Even in 1941 the War Department had issued this statement: “Negroes have been notably a loyal and patriotic group. One of their outstanding characteristics is the single-mindedness of their patriotism” (p. 8). Yet, many critics wondered why blacks should serve in a “segregated army” to defend a racist government.

Indeed, not all blacks were keen to serve. Morehouse cites Lawrence Johnson as one such example. “Lawrence Johnson said he ‘did not want to go into the military, period…It wasn’t my choice to go in, and when they called me, I didn’t expect to be any hero” (p. 17). Johnson was later even nominated for Officer Candidate School, but refused to go. Others, like Conrad Lynn, “reported for duty, but sued” over segregation: “I am ready to serve in any unit of the armed forces of my country which is not segregated by race. Unless I am assured that I can serve in a mixed regiment…I will refuse to report for induction” (p. 18). However, Lynn’s case was not victorious.

Not only was the Army segregated, but also it failed to represent the racial diversity of the American population: “In the 1940s, black Americans constituted approximately 10% of the overall population — 13 million people out of 130 million total. In the military — predominantly the army — blacks represented only 5.8% of the total number of servicemen” (p. 27). Black soldiers like Private Charles F. Wilson even wrote directly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to convey their dislike of the “undemocratic Jim Crow segregation.” However, Roosevelt did nothing to desegregate the Army.

Despite opposition, the sustained pressure of rights groups and black protest led to the activation of two black infantry divisions. No longer only serving in mess halls, black soldiers would finally get a chance to fight. One of these was the 93rd Infantry Division. The other was the 92nd.

Morehouse gives some insightful details on the hierarchy of the military at this time. “One black officer in the 93rd commented that the ‘so-called southern aristocracy’ ran the army” (p. 28). Likewise, Bill Perry noted how little authority black officers were given over whites: “It appeared as if the army never let a black man outrank a white man in any kind of working relationship” (p. 28). Morehouse then observes that Perry was not incorrect: such was “official policy.” In the segregated army, blacks could command only blacks.

Plessy v. Ferguson came back to haunt Nelson Peery when MP officers tried in vain to urge him to the segregated cars of a train. Peery, who had a first class ticket courtesy of the government, said he would be happy to — if his first class seat was available in the segregated section. It was not — and instead Peery was put in his own deluxe suite, if only to keep him apart from the other white officers (p. 43). The 92nd and 93rd all-black Infantry Divisions were segregated both from whites and, in training, from civilization all together. Their reservation was in the Arizona desert, and Hank Williams described it without fondness.

One thing the reservation at Ft. Huachuca did have, however, was no shortage of prostitution. The rate of venereal disease among soldiers at Ft. Huachuca was near to 40% in 1943. As the army took more direct intervention in the spread of disease, this rate dropped to around 15% by 1944 (p. 79). The efforts at moderating prostitution at the Fort became almost surreal, when, as Morehouse states, one “strict first sergeant nicknamed ‘Little Hitler’…would say: ‘Tell me who you’ve been with, I’ll tell you what you’ve got'” (p. 80). Famed prosecutor Eliot Ness even tried to clean up the prostitution rings that plagued the military. The whore house was deemed “off-limits.” But the problem did not go away.

In fact, there were other problems. Bill Perry describes the “drinkers and gamblers” who made up part of the infantry. Joe Stephenson relates, “One of our guys, Blondie, was from Chicago, and Al Capone was his role model” (p. 81). However, one of the reasons cited by Morehouse for the troubles at Ft. Huachuca was that there simply was not enough for the soldiers to do:

One soldier was murdered around the post bowling alley, apparently by a man wielding a bowling pin. A local civilian was murdered with an ax when a soldier suspected the man of having an affair with his wife. Many other similar tales can be found in the Huachuca archives. On weekends, the guardhouse on post and the jails in the surrounding towns would fill with soldiers who had little else to do but get into trouble (p. 81).

While troubles of the sort certainly had an effect on the soldiers of the 92nd and 93rd all-black infantry divisions, Morehouse goes on to show how the two divisions fared differently once they were sent into their campaigns in the war.

While the 93rd Division was sent to the Pacific to fight the Japanese in mop-up exercises, the 92nd Division was shipped to Europe where it had to fight in Italy. Morehouse depicts the racial bias of the white commanders in the case of the 92nd Division. By showing, for example, how Gen. Ned Almond was responsible for the poor leadership decisions that led to the 92nd’s overall lackluster performance, Morehouse places some of the blame on the societal misgivings the segregated army still held towards black soldiers in active combat. And while, as Morehouse notes, race relations were a cause for concern back in America, many white officers did not think black soldiers could be trusted to perform at the front lines. Instead, the black soldiers were put in the rear.

Finally, however, Harry. S. Truman began the process of desegregation of the armed forces in 1947. But by then the war was over. Disappointing to many, the 92nd Division was viewed as having underperformed in its active role in the European campaign. However, because of the rules, regulations, and racist mentality of the leaders of the segregated army, Morehouse makes plain that the reason the 92nd did not live up to expectations was because so little was expected from them.

Throughout, Fighting in the Jim Crow Army illustrates many examples of the trials and labors of the black American soldiers fighting in the segregated army of WWII. From the earliest stages of training at Ft. Huachuca to the combat points of Moratai, Mindanao, and Biak, and of Italy, Morehouse shows just how black soldiers fared in jobs and duties, which they were given to perform. Even though they had been trained for combat, the soldiers were viewed as lacking that which white soldiers possessed — a certain respectability, for example. Yet, the reason for such a viewpoint was based in the Plessy v. Ferguson case of 1896. Truman finally took steps to remove this viewpoint in 1947, but by then black soldiers had already returned from WWII and had not really been given an opportunity to prove themselves in battle.

Reference List

Morehouse, M. (2007). Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women

Remember World War II. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.

What Will You Get?

We provide professional writing services to help you score straight A’s by submitting custom written assignments that mirror your guidelines.

Premium Quality

Get result-oriented writing and never worry about grades anymore. We follow the highest quality standards to make sure that you get perfect assignments.

Experienced Writers

Our writers have experience in dealing with papers of every educational level. You can surely rely on the expertise of our qualified professionals.

On-Time Delivery

Your deadline is our threshold for success and we take it very seriously. We make sure you receive your papers before your predefined time.

24/7 Customer Support

Someone from our customer support team is always here to respond to your questions. So, hit us up if you have got any ambiguity or concern.

Complete Confidentiality

Sit back and relax while we help you out with writing your papers. We have an ultimate policy for keeping your personal and order-related details a secret.

Authentic Sources

We assure you that your document will be thoroughly checked for plagiarism and grammatical errors as we use highly authentic and licit sources.

Moneyback Guarantee

Still reluctant about placing an order? Our 100% Moneyback Guarantee backs you up on rare occasions where you aren’t satisfied with the writing.

Order Tracking

You don’t have to wait for an update for hours; you can track the progress of your order any time you want. We share the status after each step.


Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.

Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.


Trusted Partner of 9650+ Students for Writing

From brainstorming your paper's outline to perfecting its grammar, we perform every step carefully to make your paper worthy of A grade.

Preferred Writer

Hire your preferred writer anytime. Simply specify if you want your preferred expert to write your paper and we’ll make that happen.

Grammar Check Report

Get an elaborate and authentic grammar check report with your work to have the grammar goodness sealed in your document.

One Page Summary

You can purchase this feature if you want our writers to sum up your paper in the form of a concise and well-articulated summary.

Plagiarism Report

You don’t have to worry about plagiarism anymore. Get a plagiarism report to certify the uniqueness of your work.

Free Features $66FREE

  • Most Qualified Writer $10FREE
  • Plagiarism Scan Report $10FREE
  • Unlimited Revisions $08FREE
  • Paper Formatting $05FREE
  • Cover Page $05FREE
  • Referencing & Bibliography $10FREE
  • Dedicated User Area $08FREE
  • 24/7 Order Tracking $05FREE
  • Periodic Email Alerts $05FREE

Our Services

Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.

  • On-time Delivery
  • 24/7 Order Tracking
  • Access to Authentic Sources
Academic Writing

We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.

Professional Editing

We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.

Thorough Proofreading

We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.


Delegate Your Challenging Writing Tasks to Experienced Professionals

Work with ultimate peace of mind because we ensure that your academic work is our responsibility and your grades are a top concern for us!

Check Out Our Sample Work

Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality

All samples
Thesis/Thesis chapter
Research paper
Essay (any type)
creating a Code of Conduct
View this sample
Research paper
Week 1 Journal Assignment
Undergrad. (yrs 3-4)
Human Resources Management (HRM)
View this sample
Research paper
Cultural Intelligence Presentation
View this sample
Research paper
Communicable Disease
View this sample
Research paper
Mental health
View this sample
Essay (any type)
Personalized Glossary of Research and Assessment Terms
View this sample

It May Not Be Much, but It’s Honest Work!

Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.


Happy Clients


Words Written This Week


Ongoing Orders


Customer Satisfaction Rate

Process as Fine as Brewed Coffee

We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.

See How We Helped 9000+ Students Achieve Success


We Analyze Your Problem and Offer Customized Writing

We understand your guidelines first before delivering any writing service. You can discuss your writing needs and we will have them evaluated by our dedicated team.

  • Clear elicitation of your requirements.
  • Customized writing as per your needs.

We Mirror Your Guidelines to Deliver Quality Services

We write your papers in a standardized way. We complete your work in such a way that it turns out to be a perfect description of your guidelines.

  • Proactive analysis of your writing.
  • Active communication to understand requirements.

We Handle Your Writing Tasks to Ensure Excellent Grades

We promise you excellent grades and academic excellence that you always longed for. Our writers stay in touch with you via email.

  • Thorough research and analysis for every order.
  • Deliverance of reliable writing service to improve your grades.
Place an Order Start Chat Now