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Home > Programs > St. Louis History in Black and White


St. Louis History in Black and White: From Dred Scott to Barack Obama


The Black Soldier's Experience in World War II: 1940-1945

Much has been written about black military units in this country dating back to the days of the Buffalo Soldiers after the Civil War through the Tuskegee Airmen of World War Two. Less has been written about the experience of individual black soldiers who played a significant role in Europe and the Pacific in World War Two before the Armed Services were integrated in 1948. University of Iowa Professor Jeffrey Copeland has written about one such soldier, Inman Perkins, a teacher at Sumner High when he was drafted at the start of the war. Copeland recounts Perkins’ experiences, which mirrored those of many black servicemen, in his book, Inman’s War: A Soldier’s Story of Life in a Colored Battalion in World War Two.

Listen to the episode:



Author/historian Jeffrey Copeland, the author of Inman’s War: A Soldier’s Story of Life in a Colored Battalion in World War Two.   



Additional information about this episode:

Truman library photo

The Library of Congress: Experiencing War, Buffalo Soldiers: The 92nd in Italy
Audio interviews, photos, newsclippings, memoirs

Picture History: African American Army Nurses

National Archives pictures of WWII African American soldiers


Video from Nine Network of Public Media's Living St. Louis:

Montford Point Marines:


Wendell Pruitt:


Tuskegee Airmen:



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