In the patriotic aftermath of Pearl Harbor, African Americans demanded the right to play their part in the war against Japan. As they soon learned, however, the freedom for which the United States and its allies was fighting did not extend to African Americans. Focusing on African Americans' experiences across the Asia-Pacific theater during World War Two, this book examines the interplay between national identity, the racially segregated US military culture, and the possibilities of transnational racial advancement, as African Americans contemplated not just their own oppression but that of the colonized peoples of the Pacific region. In illuminating neglected aspects of African American history and of World War Two, this book deepens our understanding of the connections between the United States' role as an international power and the racial ideologies and practices that characterized American life during the mid-twentieth century.
Chris Dixon is Professor of History at Macquarie University, Sydney. His publications include African America and Haiti: Emigration and Black Nationalism in the Nineteenth Century (2000), Perfecting the Family: Antislavery Marriages in Nineteenth-Century America (1997), and Hollywood's South Seas and the Pacific War: Searching for Dorothy Lamour (with Sean Brawley, 2012).
Introduction; 1. 'Jim Crow on the run': Black America, Pearl Harbor, and the patriotic imperative; 2. The segregated South Seas: hierarchies of race in the Pacific War; 3. A sexualized South Seas?: intersections of race and gender in the Pacific theater; 4. Nourishing the tree of democracy: Black Americans in White Australia; 5. Behaving like men: race, masculinity, and the politics of combat, 6. Liberators and occupiers: African Americans and the Pacific War aftermath; Conclusion.