Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Stephen Stein

Committee Member

Earnestine Jenkins

Committee Member

George White


The purpose of this study is to provide a re-examination of the black soldier and how he evolved into a race warrior. This dissertation presents an analysis of African American soldiers from 1870-1920 and how they constructed and comported their citizenship manhood through interconnection with the African American community, something no other study has examined. The time period analyzed in this dissertation covers from the second reorganization of the Army until after World War I and best highlights the transitional role servicemen played during this politically era. Many of these men went on to become leaders and organizers in the fight for civil and human rights across the African diaspora. These men represented a bridge between the three cultures intersecting America: European/settler culture; formerly enslaved African culture; and Native American culture. They fought in popular and iconic conflicts in American history such as the Indian Wars, the war to secure Cuban independence and the First World War. Specifically, by adding a gender analysis, this study will demonstrate that black soldiers fought in these wars for two principal reasons: first, it was a means of exercising their citizenship; and secondly, it was a means of demonstrating that they were real men. Reflecting on an era when proving one's manhood was a national obsession-this dissertation provides a critical window through which we can reconstruct their motivations for fighting America's wars.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.