Grades 5 and Up
Tanya Lee Stone examines the role of African Americans in the military through the history of the Triple Nickles, America’s first black paratroopers, who fought in a little-known attack on the American West by the Japanese. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, in the words of Morris, "proved that the color of a man had nothing to do with his ability."
They became America’s first black paratroopers. Why was their story never told? Sibert Medalist Tanya Lee Stone reveals the history of the Triple Nickles during World War II.
My thoughts: The era of World War II brought out the best in men and gave them strength, endurance, intelligence, cunning, fortitude, and love of country. It brought out these things in men of every color: Caucasian (white), Negro (black), Asian (yellow-with the "face" of the enemy), and red (Indian). The book Courage Has No Color is primarily about the desire that men of color had to serve this nation which they loved by fighting the enemy. And the color which Courage Has No Color primarily records is that of the black American - the Negro. (I realize that to some the term Negro is not considered a good descriptive term, but I was taught that Negro was what Africans of black or brown skin were - it was their race per say. So when I use the word Negro, it is with respect for the race of those whose skin is brown or black.)
While the military of America did have Negros serving, it was not as combatants. It was more the positions of guards, cooks, cleaners, etc. True, someone has to do those things, but some of the men of color desired to actually fight the enemy, and Courage Has No Color is the story of how a few brave men of color pursued opportunities to become fighting soldiers. This took the form of gradually putting together the first group: the Triple Nickles as they were called. Once they were actually beginning to train and did become paratroopers, it grieved them to see that they still had segregated eating, sleeping, and clubs. They actually saw that prisoners of war were allowed to sit at the same tables as the white soldiers while they, the soldiers of color, were not. They had to endure the ridicule of the prisoners of war who taunted them because even though they were uniformed soldiers, they still had to ride at the back of the bus while the prisoners rode up front.
The desegregation and integration of the military, though slow, in World War II is a significant part of military and also of civil rights history. The author has presented a well documented piece of history with a lot of pictures that tell the story. The story also brings home a strong point that America was fighting racism, fascism, and human rights issues abroad but needed to address the issue of racism and rights here on the home front.
GIVEAWAY: And to share this piece of history with a Chat With Vera reader, Candlewick Press is providing a copy for one my readers. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below (please be patient as it loads. GIVEAWAY begins February 26 and ends March 12 at 12:01 a.m. EST. Open to USA addresses only.
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DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by the publisher, Candlewick Press, on behalf of the author, Tanya Stone, in exchange for my honest review. Opinions are solely my own.