Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: America's Army: For you and me!

Monday, February 26, 2007

America's Army: For you and me!

From The Brownies' Book July of 1920 issue, young Mildred Adele Barfield's prize winning essay tells a story of two young friends (one white, one black) who look to join the army together but Billy Boy (black) shows some resistance to joining and needs the reassurance of his good friend Sam (white) that the army employs young men of any color. Once in the army, Billy Boy finds himself gainfully employed all the while seeing sight no doubt the would have never been able to see had he not joined the army. "Now, here I am. Oh, Boy, this is the life!" Billy Boy says with excitement for his new life. Many (including myself) seem to doubt that this was the reality for Black men employed in the United States Army in the 1920's or beyond. Therefore regarding this article as simply youthful rhetoric from a hopeful African American girl and propaganda from the powers that be to lure Black young men into the army.


Blogger bdenoyer said...

I actually disagree with you on this topic because at the time period we are talking about here the country there was segragation the jim crow south the black community was not anywhere equal and really the only place they were treated equal was in the services so i think that although this may have been exaggerated it still is some what accurate.

2/27/2007 2:32 PM  
Blogger A. Mattson said...

The Brownies Book was a publication of the NAACP and as such constitutes political propaganda. The use of the war and military service as an argument for equal rights was an important part of NAACP propaganda. The military was segregated and racist during this period, but it did offer a greater opportunity than the Jim Crow South. The NAACP was using the issue of military sacrifice and service to sell civil rights and integration. Unfortunately, this was not enough to sway the white majority of 1920 to support the call for civil rights for all.

4/09/2007 11:00 PM  

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