Congress. Senate Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower, and Poverty of the
Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. Manpower Implications of Selective Service.
Washington, D.C. GPO, 1967.
SuDoc No.: Y4.L11/2:Se4
Date(s) of Hearings: March 20, 21, 22, 23, April 4, 5, 6, 1967
Congress and Session: 90th - 1st
The draft had particular relevance for African-Americans during the Vietnam War. The military
was to many African-Americans the only alternative for escaping poverty and to opening up
educational opportunities. But because of poverty and lack of an education African-Americans
were often turned away, sometimes up to 75%. The military did not want enlistees who were not
the "cream of the crop." At the same time however, the military did not want to
draft those in the population who were too educated because of the drain on America's
educated and the effect that would have had on America's economy and national security.
The purpose of these hearings was to look into the problems of the Selective Service in general
but also specifically to talk about its effect on African-Americans. A group of African-Americans
who tried to get into the military but were denied are brought before the committee to testify
as to the effect this lack of opportunity has had on their lives. Another group of
African-American men testified that they either had been rejected but wanted to join the military
for advancement, or they had their apprenticeships interrupted by their being drafted into the
military. Finally, a group of college newspaper editors and writers testified before the
committee advocating among other things that African-Americans in colleges and universities
should be exempt from the draft because of their importance to the African-American community
and that those African-Americans who were too poor or uneducated should also be exempt from the
draft due to their previous sufferings. They advocated a volunteer army so that those who did
not feel that they should fight did not have to, but that those who did wish to join the
military to gain new skills or an opportunity for education and advancement could do so of their
own free will.