#30DayEducation Challenge: The Role of the Vietnam War

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

For day 11, we are talking about the Vietnam War and its impact on the Civil Rights Movement. Fighting in America's first racially integrated conflict, Black servicemen were faced with the paradox of fighting abroad for Democracy while they could not experience Democracy at home and in the military. 

One of the key ways to avoid the draft was to enroll in college, meaning wealthy white people were able to dodge the draft while Black people had limited options. MLK and Malcolm X vocally denounced the war, and Muhammad Ali famously refused to serve and it cost him a significant portion of his career, $100,000 and a 5-year prison sentence.
"Many black Americans who had received an inferior education and, consequently, had evaded the draft, discovered, like Muhammad Ali, that they were now eligible. Of the 246,000 men recruited under Project 100,000 between October 1966 and June 1969, 41% were black, although black Americans represented only 11% of the US population." 
As we heard in last week in 1619, Black servicemen returned to the US to find continued discrimination and limited jobs. The draft, the war itself, and the treatment of Black servicemen significantly heightened the embrace of Black Power, further politicized Black Americans, and helped ignite further fights for Civil Rights.

📖"War Within War" (The Guardian) (15 minute read)
📖"Black Vietnam Veterans Recall the Real Injustices They Faced Before and After the Vietnam War" (10 minute read)
📖"Muhammad Ali: symbol of the civil rights movement"  (5 minute read)

Reflection Questions (discuss with your group, join the conversation on Instagram, journal)

  1. What is something new you learned?
  2. What is something that surprised you? 
  3. How did the Vietnam War impact the Civil Rights Movement?
  4. What is something from draft or war that we see in action today? 
See yall tomorrow!

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