The writing collected here is treasured not only for its historical value, but also for the excellence of the writing. Along with an important historical record, these writers returned from Europe, Africa, the North and the Southwest Pacific with taut, engaging prose that still stands as a literary gem.

 

INTRODUCTION TO THE 1944 EDITION

The AFRO-AMERICAN sent none of its writers abroad to cover World War I.

As a weekly newspaper with its influence then limited mainly to Baltimore, it depended altogether on letters from service men abroad, on occasional interviews with returned soldiers, and on War Department hand-outs.

In this war, thanks to Major A.D. Surles, chief of the Overseas Liaison Division, Bureau of Public Relations; to Truman K. Gibson, Jr., civilian aide to the Secretary of War; and to the War Department, every facility was given the AFRO-AMERICAN and other weekly papers to send their correspondents to Europe, Africa, Alaska and into the Southwest Pacific.

Ollie Stewart, who represented the AFRO-AMERICAN, was the first correspondent for any of our weeklies to reach the North African fighting front (August, 1942). He covered the campaign in which Rommel was chased out of North Africa, as well as the invasion of Sicily, and followed our troops to Rome.

Art Carter relieved him in Italy in December, 1943. Subsequently, Max Johnson, who went over with the 366th Infantry in March, 1944, was also in Italy for a while before being assigned to enter Southern France with the American Invasion Forces.

Vincent Tubbs was assigned (April, 1943) to the staff of General MacArthur in the Southwest Pacific, returning the following September. Francis Yancey succeeded him in December, 1944.

 Herbert M. Frisby made two excursions into the Far North, in the summers of 1943 and 1944. One carried him to Hudson Bay and the other to the Aleutians, within sight of the Russian frontier, and beyond the Artic Circle to Kotzebue, Alaska.

Elizabeth Phillips flew to London en route to Paris (November, 1944) but never arrived. She was taken ill and hospitalized in England and later brought home. She is the first colored woman overseas war correspondent in the war, and the first, she says, to travel 3,000 miles to enter a hospital.

In reprinting these war-time dispatches no effort is made to tell a connected story. This book represents a series of pictures of what war correspondents met in their travels and their interpretations of the relations of GI Joe to new environments.

I am indebted to William I. Gibson, Victor Gray, Clementine E. Knox, Julia English, Carlita Murphy, Evelena Jackson, F.H.M. Murray, Marcus Boulware, Ralph Matthews, N.B. Carrington, Louis Johnson, Ivy Boone and Mary S. Morrer for their help in selecting stories, reading proofs and valuable suggestions as to the format.

CARL MURPHY

Baltimore, December 15, 1944

 

Copyright 2001-, Terry Muse
Revised: December 30, 2001
URL: http://black_and_hispanic.tripod.com/blackhistory/
Contact: Terry Muse