Veterans: War and Peace, and Sacrifice

Nov 12, 2018

TAA 0045 – In honor of Veterans Day, C. Travis Webb, Seph Rodney, and Steven Fullwood discuss military service. No country, empire, or religion in the history of the world has existed without some kind of military service, even if it was temporary or forced. What kind of things are we taught to believe about veterans, the military, and war? The hosts discuss what is sacred about organized, sanctioned violence, and what is dangerous.

C.T. WEBB 00:19 Good afternoon, good morning, or good evening and welcome to The American Age podcast. This is C. Travis Webb, editor of The American Age. And I am speaking with Seph Rodney and Steven Fullwood. Gentlemen.
S. RODNEY 00:30 Hey.
S. FULLWOOD 00:30 Hello.
S. RODNEY 00:30 Hey. Hey.
S. FULLWOOD 00:31 Hello. Hello. How are you?
S. RODNEY 00:32 I’m Seph Rodney. I am speaking to you from the South Bronx. I’m an editor at the blog, magazine– I don’t even know know what to call this thing. I think we should just call it Hyperallergic [laughter]. Hyperallergic. I’m an editor at Hyperallergic and I write about art ad nauseam, ad infinitum [laughter].
S. FULLWOOD 00:53 It’s because, you know what, I hate– we don’t like the word blog. Neither one of us do [laughter]. Never liked the word blog. I just don’t. Yeah, so [crosstalk].
S. RODNEY 00:56 Right. Right. I don’t like that word.
C.T. WEBB 00:59 Wow. Wow.
S. FULLWOOD 01:00 I’m Steven Fullwood. I’m coming to you from– I think they call it SoHa, possibly [laughter].
S. RODNEY 01:07 Really?
S. FULLWOOD 01:09 Maybe. I think I’m more central Harlem. So CeHa, but [inaudible] [laughter]. So if I’m calling it that, I may not be here that much longer [laughter]. And I am the co-founder of the Nomadic Archivists Project, an organization that is dedicated to working with individuals and organizations to identify and preserve their archives, specifically looking at people of African descent.
S. RODNEY 01:37 Steven’s going to start wearing a Friends tee shirt to the podcast [laughter].
S. FULLWOOD 01:40 [Hi, everybody?]. And I come in that [inaudible] [laughter]. What’s that noise? [Every time I walk in the door?]. It’s like, “Oh God.”
S. FULLWOOD 01:52 [inaudible].
C.T. WEBB 01:54 And this is to remind our listeners that we practice what we call intellectual intimacy. And we try to give ourselves the space and the time and the attention to figure things out, out loud. Today we are talking about veterans, military service in general. Veteran’s Day is coming up. When the podcast goes live, that’ll be Veteran’s Day, so. And this came out of a back-and-forth exchange that Seph and Steven and I had before one of the shows a few weeks ago. And we were kind of just bantering back and forth about snide comments about military service or defending it or whatever. And so we thought, well, let’s have a conversation about how people who came up the way that we came up, intellectually, sort of shaped by the things that we were shaped by, the books that we were shaped by, the professors, the cultural content, and talk about military service.
S. RODNEY 02:54 So it’s always seemed– I’ll just jump in, if you guys are okay with that?
S. FULLWOOD 02:58 Mm-hmm.
S. RODNEY 02:58 It seems to me that most of the culture– and here’s where I get kind of contrarian. Most of the culture tends to, at least rhetorically and at least through most of the news that I see and most of the TV shows and films that I watch– that the military is just slightly under God [laughter] in the hierarchy. There’s like whatever, whatever, whatever, whatever, and then military, and then the order of angels, and then God. I’ve never understood that. Because in my experience dealing with people who have been or are in the military, and I’m not close friends with anyone who is frankly, but in my limited experience, they’re not particularly powerful or insightful or brave or– none of the things that– from the things I’ve watched and take in, none of the things that are typically associated with military personnel. And I find that my own attitude, when I’m not really thinking, when I’m just sort of being off the cuff, I find that I probably have a slight bit of a lack of respect for military personnel. I think I actually tend to think of them as not very smart and I don’t think that’s a fair attitude to have, but I’m not sure that, again, it’s unwarranted. Unfair, but maybe not unwarranted.
C.T. WEBB 05:03 It would be probably not all that interesting to just sort of, “Oh, well, Seph, of course, there are good people in the military and there are bad people in the military,” stuff like that. I mean, it’s obvious. I know you know that. It doesn’t broaden the conversation at all. Of course, you know that that’s a bias. We all have biases. Of course, any institution that has that many people in it is going to have, some good apples, bad apples, etc. I think probably for me a more interesting angle to approach it is I would want to say two things. I’d want to say the real beef that I think you may have is how the military is used culturally by certain people in power and by certain entrenched power and interests. And two, and maybe it would be a little bit more– we could get into it a little bit in a more interesting way, depending on what Steven thinks. I would want to elevate military service in a particular kind of way and I have a specific example of that when we get into it a little bit more. Because I do think that often times people who are trained the way that we are trained have a naive notion of how the world– how comity is enforced amongst strangers and I don’t think it happens without force.
S. RODNEY 06:43 Wow.
C.T. WEBB 06:44 And I know Steven probably might have a contrary view on this which I appreciate, so.
S. FULLWOOD 06:50 Well, I’m not really sure if I have a contrary one. I was just thinking about– so I was following this sort of– what Seph laid out in terms of the respect for military, however it’s really thought of or manifested. My thing was that there was– it wasn’t a romance to me once I got older, but when I was younger, the sort of TV shows and the ways in which military men or men in our community came back in their greens. And I thought it was fine. And my sister joined the Army and I have other family members who were in different branches of the service and I have good friends that were. It was the Red Badge of Courage that really tore me up. It’s by Stephen Crane and it was the first time that I ever–
C.T. WEBB 07:37 Such a wonderful book.
S. FULLWOOD 07:38 Yeah.
S. RODNEY 07:39 [inaudible].
S. FULLWOOD 07:39 Thought of how war looked like from a personal point of view, someone in the war. So it wasn’t very romantic and it wasn’t– they came over the– and we stormed them and so– they have these conflicting ideas about the military in terms of– I do know people who’ve entered the military who seem to be ready to find some structure. And then in our community, the post-factory work, post-Rust Belt, essentially– that was like Michel Moore said, it’s one of the ways that people got out of their economic situations. And so those people were seen as heroes in a– not heroes, but they got out. That’s a better way to put it. So I have–
C.T. WEBB 08:26 Yeah. It’s an opportunity for a lot of people in this country.
S. FULLWOOD 08:28 Right. So it’s definitely economics in terms of– and also for people who parlayed that into– GI bills and they use it to go to school and do all kind of wonderful things. But speaking to those people individually, you’ll get very diverse answers about how the military treated them, how they use the military and so forth. So my sensibilities are all over the place when it comes to the military, particularly around masculinity. That’s one thing. You learn how to be with others and you learn how to be with others that are not like you. But, yeah, I have a couple of more stories but that’s kind of what I wanted to start out with.
S. RODNEY 09:07 Well, I do think that’s a really rich vein to take the conversation in, talking about masculinity. Because I think that maybe one of the ways in which I have learned to have a lack of respect for military personnel– I should say, and I think what Travis had indicated before, can help me nuance this. I should say the ways that images of the military have been sold to me. Right? So not actual military, but the sort of cultural construction of military personnel. That I find I have little respect for, I think partly because the kind of masculinity I’ve always seen sold alongside it is exactly the kind of man I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be loud and boisterous. I don’t want to be domineering. I don’t want to show my power by essentially belittling or maiming or killing other people. That’s not of interest to me.
C.T. WEBB 10:15 You know it’s–
S. RODNEY 10:16 There are other ways that I can show my power.
C.T. WEBB 10:17 Yeah. You know what’s so interesting about that is, I think if you were to speak with kind of traditional military men in the sense of– men and women. Right? I shouldn’t gender it. That sort of quiet reserve and strength and subdued demonstration of power is something that would have been emblematic of an officer. And is still how it’s at least talked about in sort of officer’s candidate schools and certainly West Point’s traditions and Annapolis and whatnot. There is a time and a place on the field where those sort of more aggressive masculine traits can be exercised. But off the field, there should be a kind of decorum. Now, I’m not saying that actually what happens at all.
S. RODNEY 11:26 Oh, no, no, no. I get it.
C.T. WEBB 11:27 Right. Right. Right, so. But that is the– I mean, the military and this kind of gets to where– I hesitate to go too far in this direction because I loved Steven’s point. For example, my dad told me explicitly that being in the military helped him deal with the racism he grew up with.
S. FULLWOOD 11:50 Right. Wow.
C.T. WEBB 11:50 As far as how he was taught to think about black bodies. I mean, he didn’t use those words. Right? My dad doesn’t talk like that. But in the military, being in Vietnam, actually, is what helped recalibrate that for him. And so Steven’s point about kind of the culture and the regimentation being a necessary structure to allow that many strangers and that much difference to interact in the same sphere and to even perhaps lay down your life for that person that is a stranger, that is a potent force in human history. And it continues to be. And so I think that its social functions should in some ways be elevated just in the ways that are different than they’re currently deployed. F-16s over NFL games and crap like that is just dumb, but.
S. RODNEY 12:49 That bullshit. Right.
S. FULLWOOD 12:50 Yeah. But I love what you said about the quiet decorum, right, and that sort of reserve. Almost like the different ways in which some martial arts forms, you use your power when you need to. But the side that you heard earlier was thinking about how you’ve got young people going into the service who are still sort of wrestling with who they are and what they are and trying to work that out. But then through insecurity or through whatever it is they bring to the service is kind of what they get out. So a professor of mine told me years ago, “If you go into college dumb, you’ll probably come out dumb [laughter].” And I’m not sure– yeah. But I’m thinking–
C.T. WEBB 13:34 No. I believe that’s–
S. FULLWOOD 13:36 But to the point, it’s really about what you’re bringing with you. And so if you’re hyper-masculine before you go in the Army or service, any service– I don’t know how that could be tempered in an environment like that.
C.T. WEBB 13:50 Right.
S. RODNEY 13:51 You know it’s wonderful but– [inaudible] I had to get this out. You know what’s wonderful about that is it’s very Platonic. Right? So you already know– the things you know are what you know, and they have to be sort of uncovered. And Nietzsche uses that to defend Platonism, essentially that you could go to school for a decade and still not know anything.
S. RODNEY 14:13 Right. Absolutely. Go ahead. I’m sorry.
C.T. WEBB 14:17 No. No. No. That was it. Just as a connection. So please jump in.
S. RODNEY 14:22 Right. Yeah. No. It makes me think of people like Kris Kobach who, I think, has a degree from Harvard or what’s his name? The guy we talked about the other week who has the most highly rated radio show. What’s his name?
C.T. WEBB 14:38 Rush Limbaugh?
S. RODNEY 14:39 No. No. No. No. No. The Jewish guy.
C.T. WEBB 14:42 Alex Jones?
S. RODNEY 14:42 Younger.
C.T. WEBB 14:44 [inaudible]. I’m not sure.
S. RODNEY 14:44 Oh, we were talking about how he challenged Ocasio-Cortez to a debate.
C.T. WEBB 14:50 Oh, that guy. Ben Shapiro?
S. RODNEY 14:53 That’s the one. Yes.
S. FULLWOOD 14:55 [inaudible].
S. RODNEY 14:55 Yes. He has a degree from Harvard too. And anyway, that’s an aside [laughter].
S. FULLWOOD 15:00 That’s a good aside.
S. RODNEY 15:01 Let’s go back to the quiet reserve thing. So I do a lot of my thinking through the things I read and the things I watch. And I remember the film Crimson Tide from I think it was the late ’80s or early ’90s with–
C.T. WEBB 15:18 Not sure, but.
S. RODNEY 15:19 –two of the best actors around, still around, Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman. And essentially, long story short, they end up being at odds. And Denzel Washington plays a junior officer. And they are in a situation in which they have come close to getting into a nuclear fracas with Russia. And Denzel’s character holds the key to a particular device. I think it’s the device to arm the nuclear warhead. They’re on a sub. I should mention they’re on a submarine. They have nuclear capable submarine. And he actually holds the key by which they can arm it, the device. And Gene Hackman demands the key from him. And I remember at some point– maybe actually he had it in his hand. And then he puts it around his neck, tucks it into his shirt, and looks at him and says, “No. I’m not giving you this key.” And then Gene Hackman’s character slaps him, not punch. Slaps him. I think he slaps him more than once. I think he slaps him and then he slaps him again.
C.T. WEBB 16:36 He slaps him at least twice. Yeah. Yeah.
S. RODNEY 16:37 Yeah. And Denzel just looks at him. He just keeps looking at him. And basically, he’s saying, “You and I both know you’re not strong enough to take the key from me. And I’m not going to respond to your active aggression with aggression. I’m just going to hold the key because I am not going to let this war happen here and now, given the flimsy evidence we have of some putative provocation from the Russians.” It’s a powerful scene and that’s why it stuck with me.
C.T. WEBB 17:10 Yeah. It is.
S. RODNEY 17:10 But it is about showcasing that kind of quiet, determined reserve. That is a kind of power that I think doesn’t enough get associated with military personnel.
S. FULLWOOD 17:23 Agreed. Completely.
C.T. WEBB 17:26 Yeah. You know the scene that you’re talking about? Quentin Tarantino wrote the dialogue for that scene–
S. RODNEY 17:31 Get out of here.
C.T. WEBB 17:33 –where they talk about the Lipizzaner stallions?
S. RODNEY 17:35 Yeah.
C.T. WEBB 17:36 So they brought in a– he was a script doctor in that film.
S. FULLWOOD 17:40 Oh, wow.
C.T. WEBB 17:41 And so that scene in particular, where he talks about how they’re born black or the Lipizzaner stallions are– because Gene Hackman has this line about the best horses in the world are white or something like that. And Denzel Washington says that they’re born black. That was apparently a conversation that Quentin Tarantino had overheard at a table at a restaurant or something like that.
S. RODNEY 18:06 Wow.
C.T. WEBB 18:07 And so he brought that in. Anyway, whatever. It’s an unnecessary aside. It’s such a great scene.
S. RODNEY 18:14 It’s a great scene.
C.T. WEBB 18:15 And so I think that not enough intellectual creativity from the humanities has been spent in the 20th and 21st centuries on thinking through the necessity of sacrifice to hold together large-scale social formations. Right?
S. RODNEY 18:48 Wow.
C.T. WEBB 18:48 So I mean, we can certainly talk about– we talk about sacrifice– an anthropologist has no problem going to watch a goat get sacrificed or watch whatever sort of totemic or reenacted symbolic sacrifices that are done in more primitive cultures. But in my understanding of history, I don’t think we ever outgrow that. I don’t think countries, religions, large-scale organizations of human beings beyond the interpersonal, right– clearly, Seph and Steven, we don’t need to sacrifice a rabbit, right, to be friends. There’s a whole host of associations that are built around that. But when strangers and when people who are different than us come into the mix, that pact has to be sealed in blood.
S. RODNEY 19:49 Wow.
C.T. WEBB 19:50 I mean that quite literally. And I think that that this– I think that we, and I say our tribe on the left, I think that we have run away from that realization and I think that it’s at the heart of our fear of power, and it’s an aspect of being embodied in a contentious world, so. And I think the military is an extension of that. And I think to honor that is necessary if you’re going to stay together.
S. FULLWOOD 20:26 I think the reason why you might not be seeing that particular omission in terms of the literature or the cultural work around the sacrifice, to to speak, is because it’s– I think that’s where the mythologies come in around why it’s an important thing to do. And we crossed the Potomac at this time, and then you have that sort of– I think that’s where the myths come in, because I’m not sure about the left running from it, necessarily. I think the left sometimes just– it may suffer from a lack of imagination in lieu of that kind of blood sacrifice that you’re talking about. If the pact that’s sealed in blood– we’re still doing the same motherfucking things that we’ve been doing for eons around land ownership, food, and so I think that we just don’t have a lot of sensibilities around a life without war.
C.T. WEBB 21:23 Yeah. My suggestion is I don’t know that we can have a life without war yet. Yeah. I don’t–
S. FULLWOOD 21:29 That’s the imagination part.
C.T. WEBB 21:31 Yeah. So I mean, yes. So I guess I should say maybe perhaps not literal war. Right? So Edmund Burke who, the famous conservative, talks about essentially that war has a clarifying purpose for a nation. Right? So not just that it clarifies purpose in that you want this land, you want this territory, etc. But that it helps cohere the nation together. Right? So but that actual war, bodies being blown up, people being stabbed, is just stupid and ugly. So the closer you can get to war, the more emboldening and ennobling in some ways it becomes, the way that we discipline our minds and our bodies in its preparation. But in the actual execution of it, it just becomes an ugly, pedestrian mess.
S. RODNEY 22:40 So my question is, then, is Burke suggesting or are you suggesting, Travis, that things like organized sports or organized games like boxing can be a proxy for war? In other words, could we possibly have a culture in which these large groups of strangers find comity through those things like football and boxing?
C.T. WEBB 23:13 It’s a great extension. I believe that. I don’t think Burke– I don’t know that Burke thought that. But I mean, I absolutely– I mean, Nelson Mandela thought it. I mean, this was the whole move to create an integrated South African soccer team. Right? I mean, I very much believe that. I definitely believe that competitive sports can have– can, right, doesn’t necessarily does. Right? You need to have a critical mass of people that are invested in the winning or losing of the team, but yes. I mean, and certainly the Greeks thought it. Right? I mean, that’s the Olympics, I mean. I mean, this has been around for a long– this idea has been around for a long time.
S. RODNEY 23:58 Well, I mean, what made me think so is I’m still trying to wrap my head around the notion that there has to be some sort of payment in blood. Right? I’m trying to think– but when I think about games like football. Let’s just stick with that, American football. These guys really do pay in blood.
S. FULLWOOD 24:18 Oh, yeah.
S. FULLWOOD 24:19 Oh, absolutely.
S. RODNEY 24:19 And the thing is– and the thing is, the fans, I mean, in a really palpable way, demand it. They demand that these guys– I mean, think about what people have said in the last few years as they found out more information about that particular–
S. FULLWOOD 24:38 Concussions?
S. RODNEY 24:38 Yes. And that particular kind of degenerative condition that repeated concussive injuries cause. Think about the things that some people have said out loud about that. Like, “Oh, these guys need to man up. Oh, what are you going to be a baby now? Oh, they want to turn football into some women’s sport.” Literally, people saying that men– essentially, saying men should be hurt. They should lose some part of themselves to the game.
S. FULLWOOD 25:14 A game.
S. RODNEY 25:14 That’s war. We’re talking about war.
C.T. WEBB 25:16 That’s right. Yes. Yeah. Absolutely. I don’t mean it flippantly. I don’t want to assign anyone to this– whose job this is to conduct this war or this putative war. But I think that the idea that you can have a weak and flimsy military and still be a potent cultural force in the world is a fantasy. I just don’t think it’s real. Now, probably because we’re pushing up against time. There is a counter example in history that would argue against what I’m saying. And that is what’s sometimes called Sanskritization. Which was the rapid spread of South Asian sanskritic culture throughout South Asia, so without a corresponding military aggression. So there is a counter example. I’m very suspicious of it. But there are people that know way more about it than I do that have made that argument. So anyways, that is my position. But I do understand that there is a counter argument to be made.
S. FULLWOOD 26:43 Well, I appreciate that. Because if there was a physical motion that you need to do as a sort of throw your hands up and say, “This is the way it is [laughter].” And if we’re going to be safe or we’re going to protect our moms and babies, then we need to do this. And I really hold that space open. I’m not smart enough yet. So give me three seconds and I’ll figure it out, that there’s a way to live in the world without war. There has to be. So I hold that space. And I’d like to continue this conversation in another podcast. Maybe later. Because there are other examples I wanted to kind of bring up with you guys. But this has been really thoughtful.
C.T. WEBB 27:16 We’ve got a couple– you can pull up one. We got a couple minutes. If you have a counter example, bring it up.
S. FULLWOOD 27:22 Well, it’s not even a counter example to what you’re saying, but I was thinking earlier about this masculinity thing. And I think that in my complicated way of looking at the military and soldiers and so forth– because it’s not so easy to extract myself from the people that I know who really benefited from being in the military or people who did sacrifice their lives or who died or who lost a limb or something. I was thinking about the ways in which film and the ways– kind of like what Seph said or whatever, the way that the military is presented to us. And so the one thing was that I felt like I’m being set up to believe [laughter] that this kind of masculinity is worthy of emulating. Most of the masculinity– I’m thinking of A Clockwork Orange. Not A Clockwork Orange, what’s the other one?
S. RODNEY 28:11 Oh, you mean the Stanley Kubrick war film?
S. FULLWOOD 28:16 Yeah, the war film. What is it–?
C.T. WEBB 28:18 Apocalypse Now?
S. FULLWOOD 28:19 Right. Yeah. It was very like, why would I want to even engage in that? Not just the war part, but just the training and the constant sort of monitoring of one’s masculinity. And I love it when I’m watching a film and they have all the archetypes. They have the ultra-masculine guy and a crazy guy and they have the soft guy. And then they have the guy who’s sort of like the everyman guy who’s supposed to change a bit. Like he understands war now or he pulls back and we’re supposed to sort of– I’m just so exhausted with those examples. I’m like, “No, there are other people.” And the Black Phalanx– this is my last example. The Black Phalanx, which is a book that basically, up until the [inaudible] the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, focused on the anecdotal and the testimony of black soldiers, for which– were always fighting for their freedom, whether or not they were actually free men or enslaved men. And it’s an amazing book. It’s one of the first books that sort of captures those narratives. Books like that and the materials that the Shonberg gave me– a closer look at the way black soldiers engaged in these forms of supposed freedom. They’d come back from war and there would be riots [laughter]. And from World War One, World War Two, people were constantly sort of like, “So you fought over wherever you did, but when you come back here you’ll still be a nigger.”
C.T. WEBB 29:46 Yeah. So there’s no doubt– there is no doubt that the United States has absolutely betrayed its principles in relation to race from the beginning, in every way, shape, or form. And one of the reasons that the country is as broken as it is, is we’re still paying for that betrayal.
S. FULLWOOD 30:11 Among others.
C.T. WEBB 30:12 Yeah. Yeah. No. I mean sort of broadly construed. Right? I mean, not just with Africans but natives, I mean, just across the board. And that we have lied. We have lied about what would purchase your seat at the table. And one of the– and one of the most egregious ways that we have lied about that is to say that if you serve your country, that you will be welcomed at the table. That was a betrayal. A betrayal. I’m sorry, Seph. Go ahead.
S. RODNEY 30:44 No. No. No. I just want to kind of bring things to a close by saying I think we should talk about this more, Steven. I think that you’ve brought up some points that really need to be pursued. I want to just add to the mix one thing that should be talked about, too, is the way that men– and this is part of the masculinity thing, I think the way that soldiers are sexualized. I think there are very, very few ways in our culture for men to be sexy. I actually think that being a soldier is one of them.
S. FULLWOOD 31:14 Oh, wow.
S. RODNEY 31:14 So we probably should talk about that.
C.T. WEBB 31:17 Yeah. Yeah. Absolutely.
S. FULLWOOD 31:19 That’s a good point.
C.T. WEBB 31:20 Okay. So for the next podcast, we had previously discussed talking about mothers but I am also okay with continuing the conversation on– it looks like you guys would rather change the topic and stick with our original plan, which is talk about mothers next time.
S. RODNEY 31:36 I don’t know. Steven, how do you feel?
S. FULLWOOD 31:37 I can go either way but since there are three of us, let me just say I can continue talking about the military and war. I can definitely do it. [crosstalk].
S. RODNEY 31:45 Yeah. I’d prefer to do that actually.
C.T. WEBB 31:46 Okay. All right. So we’ll do part two of veterans next time.
S. FULLWOOD 31:50 Sounds good.
C.T. WEBB 31:51 Gentlemen, thanks very much for the conversation as always.
S. RODNEY 31:54 Indeed. Thank you.
S. FULLWOOD 31:55 Thank you.
C.T. WEBB 31:56 And I’ll talk to you soon.


First referenced at 06:50

Stephen Crane

(November 1, 1871 – June 5, 1900) was an American poet, novelist, and short story writer.

First referenced at 15:01

Crimson Tide

After the Cold War, a breakaway Russian republic with nuclear warheads becomes a possible worldwide threat. U.S. submarine Capt. Frank Ramsey (Gene Hackman) signs on a relatively green but highly recommended Lt. Cmdr. Ron Hunter (Denzel Washington) to the USS Alabama, which may be the only ship able to stop a possible Armageddon. 

First referenced at 21:31

Edmund Burke

Was an Irish statesman born in Dublin, as well as an author, orator, political theorist and philosopher, who after moving to London in 1750 served as a member of parliament between 1766 and 1794 in the House of Commons with the Whig Party.

First referenced at 28:19

Joseph T. Wilson

served with the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War (1861–1865) and afterward as a writer, orator, and activist best known for The Black Phalanx; A History of the Negro Soldiers of the United States in the Wars of 1775–1812, 1861–’65 (1887).


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