The Black Soldiers Who Built the Alaska Highway: A History of Four U.S. Army Regiments in the North, 1942-1943

The Black Soldiers Who Built the Alaska Highway: A History of Four U.S. Army Regiments in the North, 1942-1943

McFarland
2013
228 pages
39 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Softcover (7 x 10)
Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-7117-1
Ebook ISBN: 978-1-4766-0039-0

John Virtue, Director
International Media Center at Florida International University

This is the first detailed account of the 5,000 black troops who were reluctantly sent north by the United States Army during World War II to help build the Alaska Highway and install the companion Canol pipeline. Theirs were the first black regiments deployed outside the lower 48 states during the war. The enlisted men, most of them from the South, faced racial discrimination from white officers, were barred from entering any towns for fear they would procreate a “mongrel” race with local women, and endured winter conditions they had never experienced before. Despite this, they won praise for their dedication and their work. Congress in 2005 said that the wartime service of the four regiments covered here contributed to the eventual desegregation of the Armed Forces.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword by Monte Irvin
  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. Pondering a Pathway to Alaska
  • 2. Highway and Pipeline Approved
  • 3. The Second Emancipation Order
  • 4. Blacks Rush to Enlist
  • 5. Black Soldiers Voice Their Complaints
  • 6. Army Reluctantly Assigns Black Regiments
  • 7. Heading North
  • 8. Japanese Attack Justiļ¬es the Alcan Highway
  • 9. The 93rd and the 95th Start Off with Picks and Shovels
  • 10. The 97th Completes the Highway
  • 11. The 388th Does the Heavy Lifting
  • 12. An Unexpectedly Severe Winter
  • 13. Surviving Isolation
  • 14. The Highway Is Praised, the Pipeline Criticized
  • 15. Identifying Problems
  • 16. News Coverage of Black Troops Suppressed
  • Epilogue
  • Chapter Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
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