Deanna Oneil is a psychology expert in this area. Deanna worked with numerous texts on the topic and is willing to share her knowledge with our readers.
War and the African-American Community Essay
This paper uses Owen Dodson's poem "Black Mother Praying" (1943) and Martin Luther King's "The Importance of Vietnam" (1964) to discuss the issue of war and the African-American community.
This paper explains that African-American men and women quite often are exposed to war not because of their patriotism and love of military life but rather because of economic desperation and political disenfranchisement from the American dream. The author points out that Martin Luther King's speech upon the nature of the Vietnam War called for an end to the war and the draft because it was disproportionately waged upon the back's of America's desperate poor black men, who could not afford a university education to obtain a deferral and did not have the political connections to obtain service in the National Guard. The paper relates that in Owen Dodson's WWII poem "Black Mother Praying", the great post-Harlem Renaissance poet's last poem in dialect, Dodson's fictive mother weeps for a son whose death is only for a nation that hates him.
Early on in his speech, King highlights the dangerous divide that America is causing by going to war in Vietnam, stating that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools."