Skip to Content
A black and white photograph of two soldiers, in military fatigues, perched on the edge of the windshield, boots resting on the jeep's hood.

Black Power and 'The Black G.I.'

Documenting Black Experience on the Ground

Black Power, Black Pride, and Black Togetherness

African American soldier wearing a beret

Black Journal emerged during a time with an increased push for African American representation in publicly funded television programs. It was also a time of heightened social tensions, particularly concerning race and the Vietnam War. Both at home and abroad, ordinary individuals became more assertive in declaring their views. The intersection of race and war are clear in the narrator’s question about “whether the real war is in Vietnam or America.”

Different Experiences Across the Armed Forces

“Strictly a Black Thing”

Footage of Koza Four Corners, a section of an Okinawan city where shops and entertainment for Black servicemen developed.

Two men shaking each other hands in a friendly and casual way.

Tensions between Black and white servicemembers, and between servicemembers and local Okinawans, boiled over more than once, including during the Koza Riots.

"We Know Black Culture, We Are the Black People"

I think that when you begin to talk with so many of these young men about soul music, they’re really talking about a lot of other things. “Soul” is just a convenient handle that they think we immediately recognize as being a legitimate complaint, but behind it are a whole malaise of not very good conditions.

L. Howard Bennet, Pentagon Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

Sylvester Bracey’s Viral Video

It makes me wonder if a lesson my father instilled in me, was birth[ed] from his Vietnam experience. My father used to say “Don’t let your position of authority, make you lose your sense of humanity.”

Sylvester Bracey Jr.

Afterlife of the Black G.I.