This book is an account of the 2,445 African American men who were killed, wounded or decorated during World War II in the Navy, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine. Due to the nature of the military's racial policies, most of these men served either in the Steward's Branch of their respective service or in subordinate positions. As a result, the role of these fighting men has largely been ignored or even forgotten. This book attempts to rectify this oversight, documenting each man lost with groupings primarily by ship and shore service, as well as separate chapters for two special groups: those men lost at Pearl Harbor and those who died in the explosion at Port Chicago, an incident which accounted for about 20 percent of all deaths among African American seamen during the war.In addition to detailing the circumstances and location of each loss, information about each man's service of a more personal nature is often included in this book. The overall African American service experience is highlighted with information from surviving black veterans of the period, as well as recollections from several families whose sons, fathers, and brothers were lost in the war. The book includes many pictures of the men profiled, along with examples of documents highlighting their career and the service of African Americans in general. Also featured are several African Americans who were decorated posthumously for acts of bravery and heroism during their service, including Navy Cross winners Dorie Miller and Leonard Roy Harmon.
Author and lecturer Glenn A. Knoblock is the author of more than 10 history related books. He is a contributor to Harvard's African-American National Biography project, and is active in African-American historical studies in New Hampshire, working with several different organizations on the state and local level. He lives in Wolfeboro Falls, New Hampshire.