Celebrating Veterans Day (PDF)

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Title: Celebrating Veteran’s Day by Vivica Pierre
Author: Vivica D Smith Pierre

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Celebrating Veterans Day –
African American Women in
the Military

By Vivica D Smith Pierre

“For more than 200 years, African-Americans and women
soldiers have participated in every military conflict or war in
United States history. They have not only fought bravely the
common enemies of the United States but have also had to
confront the individual and institutional racism of their
countrymen. Retired Lt. Col. Michael Lee Lanning, author. “–
The African-American Soldier: From Crispus Attucks to Colin Powell.”
Veterans Day is November 11, 2011. Veterans Day began originally as a
commemoration associated with World War I and then expanded to
honor veterans of all United States soldiers. Since the 1950s, presidents
have regularly issued proclamations reminding us of the Veterans Day
holiday as well as the importance of America’s veterans’ service in
national defense and protection.
The theme of this Resource Guide is focused on helping students and
teachers with finding, evaluating, and citation management of
information and library resources on remembering our role as people of
color and women in United States military history. As a specific example,
how many of our mothers and/or grandparents served in in the
Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, The Spanish American War,
Confederate/Union and the Civil War, World War I, World War II,
Korean War, Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and present wars? Do our
daughters and sons, do our children and grandchildren know about the
contributions? Do they know that an African American woman–Cathay
Williams– served as a Buffalo Soldier?
As the daughter of two U.S. military service members (Retired Army), I
look forward to sharing Veteran’s Day with my parents, and most of all,
asking my students to go and learn more about the role of mothers and

grandmothers as well as fathers who have served in any U.S. military
conflict or war.
As an information and library resources expert, I am usually searching
for new ways to grow awareness and passion particularly in our children
and future leaders about how to evaluate historical narratives. For
example: Did you know that in 1782 Deborah Samson Gannett, from
Plymouth, Massachusetts, was one of the first white American women
soldiers. The narrative goes that she enlisted under the name of her
deceased brother, Robert Shurtleff Samson. For 17 months, Samson
served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. She was
wounded twice. All history matters.
Did you know that in 1866 Cathy Williams (William Cathay) was the first
African American woman soldier? When Cathay Williams enlisted in the
army, women were not allowed to serve as soldiers. She was born Cathy
Williams, but became Pvt. William Cathay. The story is that as an
African-American woman Cathy Williams disguised herself as a man to
become a Buffalo Soldier. Cathay Williams was the only known
female Buffalo Soldier. She served in the Thirty-Eighth U.S. Infantry
Company A, as William Cathay, from November 1866 to October 1868.Source
When did women get the right to join the military?
Women did not receive permanent military status in the regular and
reserve forces of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and then-newly created
Air Force until 1948 when President Truman signed the Women’s Armed
Services Integration Act. That’s my cue because I have a photograph of
my mother, in military uniform from that period of time. My mother
served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corp of Nurses (WACS).

Many of those serving in World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the
Vietnam War are now fading away “soldiers never die.” I can think of no
better primary source than our mothers and fathers and grandparents
who have served in the U.S. military to share their stories through
diaries, letters, memoirs, photographs and other memory.
I like that we celebrate Veteran’s Day at least once each year, but with
today’s technology tools and digital resources we should celebrate a
living history – often

To assist students in developing analytical skills through gathering,
evaluating, and use of citation management to tell stories about context,
people, and places that will enable them to evaluate documents, reports
and posters such as photographs, political cartoons and posters related
to African American women during the Korean War, the Vietnam War
and present.

To introduce students to Information Literacy Frameworks teaching and
learning strategies to help them investigate historical questions and/or
Evaluating, Citing Sources, Contextualizing, Sourcing, Corroborating and
Close Reading
Resource Guides
Today’s Resource Guides (Research Guides, LibGuides) use technology
to present multiple sources of information in diverse formats and media
(e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a
question or solve a problem (e.g., course assignment, subject research, as

well as in an innovative and attractive 21st century format. Web-based,
they provide content available at libraries and museums, as well as
content on the Internet/Web. LibGuides are public and/or private,
meaning, if it is published; it is public and if unpublished, it is private.
The importance of the distinction has to do with copyright, terms and
conditions of use (e.g. digital images, digital libraries, films, videos and
other types of media).
Copyright and Media
I have reached out to copyright holders (i.e. databases) and copyright
owners (i.e. creators of art and images) used in this Research Guide in
order to provide attribution and credit to source as to use. The Research
Guide is intended for educational and research purposes. Material and
external links contained in this Research Guides are made available for
teaching and learning, and for sharing and discussion and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the author or creator of the guide.
I invite feedback and hope you will share other relevant resources, sites
and images appropriate to the subject of the Resource Guide.
Reference Works
Encyclopedia Britannica
The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Military and Diplomatic History
Internet – A to Z
African Americans at War Fighting Two Battles. Library of Congress
African Americans in the U.S. Army

African American Military Records (African American Online Records)
African American Women and the Military – Research
America’s Military Population –Population Reference Bureau
BlackPast.org: Buffalo Soldiers: An American Legacy (Historic
documentaries and films)
Black Soldiers Troops in Indian War by genealogy.com
Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum. African American Women World
War II
Desecration of the Armed Forces and the U.S. Presidential Libraries
Library of Congress Science Reference Guides
Massachusetts 54th Regiment
National Archives. Archives Library Information Center. “AfricanAmerican Women’s Resources”
National Archives. Research. Pictures of African American During
World War II
Naval History and Heritage
Naval History and Heritage Command First Female Officers – AfricanAmericans and the U.S. Navy
National Women’s History Museum. Partners in Winning the War.
African American Women in World War II

Office of History and Collections of the Women In Military Service For
America Memorial Foundation
Pictures of African Americans during World War II. National Archives
Tuskegee Airmen
Two Wars to Win
Women At War – Forgotten Veterans of Desert Storm 0 A Feature
Documentary Film by Christie Davis and Dennis Davis
Women in Military Service For America Memorial Foundation,
Inc. Brief History of Black Women in the Military
Women in Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.
Voices of Valor
Women in the Military Service for America Memorial Foundation,
Inc. Volunteering For Risk: Black Military Women Overseas during the
Wars in Korea and Vietnam
Other Related Research Guides
Henry Buhl Library/Grove City College
Rhode Island College The link to our LibGuide [African Americans and
the Civil War by the James P. Adams Library/ Rhode Island College
George Mason University Site published and updated through Women In
Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc.
University of Washington/Tacoma Library LibGuide

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