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"Minority Veterans." In Source Material on the Vietnam Era Veteran. Congress. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 173-236. Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1974. Committee Print 26.

Part 3: Minority Veterans.

The Returning Black Vietnam Era Veteran / James M. Fendrich. (p. 222-233). (Originally published in Social Service Review, March 1972.)

SuDoc No.: Y4.V64/4:V67/6

James Fendrich's article is a well researched look at returning African-American veterans to 1968 Jacksonville, Florida. By gathering interviews from 199 men, Fendrich hoped that his results would be applicable to large cities across America. The 199 men were selected at random from a list of Jacksonville veterans obtained by local veterans organizations. Television and radio stations also called for participants by advertising the study. The local chapter of the National Urban League served as a contact point for the veterans and conducted the interviews. Though there was concern that the sample group would be unrepresentative of the entire African-American veteran population, (as being too biased towards lower income veterans), the final sample group turned out to be better educated and better off financially.

Fendrich's study found that 67% of the men surveyed were "subemployed," or had not worked over 37 weeks of the year. This despite the relatively high level of educational achievement. Furthermore, while the majority of the veterans said they were satisfied with the service provided by Veterans Administration offices, they were not satisfied with other organizations when it came to finding work. More men were helped by the National Urban League, with one part time employee, than by the State Employment Service which was run by full time staff.

Fendrich's study also measured the amount of "alienation" that the veterans harbored. "Alienation" is defined here as "voluntarily chosen by the individual as an attitude toward the social system, as he realizes that the system does not provide worthwhile activities or goals in social life." This portion of the study which measured "alienation" found, among other things, that:
  • Distrust of authority figures increased as the figure was identified as more local, i.e. policemen received a distrust level of 57%.
  • Seventy-seven percent agreed that "law and order" not "justice" was the main concern of contemporary society.
  • Sixty-five percent thought of themselves as black men first and Americans second.
  • The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) received a 60% and 58% approval rating respectively.
  • Most veterans rejected violence overall as a means to achieve the goal of civil rights, however...
  • Thirty-six percent said that violence was the "only way" to achieve this goal.
  • Fifty-eight percent believed that Jacksonville would experience a major riot in the near future.
Although Fendrich stated that it was impossible to tell whether African-American veterans would assume a responsible leadership role in their communities or resort to violence, "the impossible black revolution may indeed be possible, if not successful."


[From Social Service Review, March 1972]

The Returning Black Vietnam Era Veteran1

(By James M. Fendrich)

"This study explores the readjustment to civilian life of 199 black Vietnam-era veterans. Additional national data are used to demonstrate that black veterans are faced with unique problems."
The Vietnam war and domestic interracial conflict are the two major crises of the contemporary United States. As participants in both crises, black veterans are uniquely caught in the causal nexus of recent events. As the nation slowly disengages from its Vietnamese involvement, a number of transitional problems must be faced. Not the least of these problems is the response of the war-trained black veterans to an admittedly racist society and to potentially four hundred thousand to five hundred thousand black Vietnam veterans assuming civilian status, and with an apparent drop in first-term reenlistment rates for blacks (14), the black veterans has undoubtedly begun to affect the future of black-white relations in America.

The veteran returning to the black community encounters two aspects of black American culture that are certainly more ubiquitous than when he left. He encounters an expanding black-consciousness that may border on separatism, and a heightened demand for immediate and radical social change. In the pursuit of either, the role of the black veterans may be pivotal. The late Whitney Young suggested that the role may change from full participation in society, with a rejection of militancy, separatism, and violence, to the use of guerrilla-warfare skills in militant attempts at social change (29). Regardless of which role is chosen, it is Bayard Rustin's judgment that black veterans will be the new cutting edge of the black protest movement (20).

The patterns of adjustment to civilian life may be significantly different for Vietnam veterans, in contrast to World War II or Korean veterans. The military and civilian sectors of society have changed. During World War II the military was a tightly segregated social institution reflecting the racial sentiments of the society. Under pressure from black leaders and facing a presidential election in 1948, President Truman signed an executive order which stated:

It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origins. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale (27).
Moskos (15) and Stillman (22) note that it was only with the conclusion of the Korean War and the advent of the Vietnam crisis that the black soldier was involved extensively in integrated combat units. The process of social change has been slow. Nevertheless, the armed forces have probably made a more dramatic institutional change in terms of integration than any other large-scale institution in American society.2 For example, Stillman draws the stark contrast between the integrated and economically secure life-style of blacks on a military post and the opposite life-style of blacks in a neighboring civilian community (22).

Since most black men in the armed forces do not seek military careers, the questions can be raised whether black veterans are returning to second-class citizenship or whether the military experience has provided the training and skills for upward mobility in civilian life. A number of authors have speculated about the problems black veterans will face (5, 21, 29). Problems are described as the transition from "democracy in the foxhole" to discrimination in the ghetto at home. There are vivid descriptions of a veteran who "makes it" in civilian life or one who does not and re-enlists, and one who does not make it but is determined not to re-enlist.

Unfortunately, many articles are not well researched, in that they convey neither the breadth nor the scope of what readjustment involves for the black man. Little attention is given to the proportions of blacks and whites receiving veterans' benefits. Large federal programs, such as Project Transition, and programs such as the National Urban League's Veterans Affairs Project are described, but the extent and level of participation have not been carefully examined. Because of the uncritical assessment and style of the reporting, most of these articles perpetuate a "cruel deception." The reading public is left with firm impression that guidelines and proposals on paper are significant programs that have actually been put into effect, and that, given enough time, the various federal bureaus and private agencies will be able to ward off a a serious crisis for discontented black veterans. The point of view may be a comforting thought for some, but there is no way of assessing the validity of reporting.

This study explores the readjustment of black veterans to a large Southern metropolis. The research project had three major objectives: to assess the difficulties black veterans experience in adjusting to civilian life, to determine the extent of alienation among black veterans, and to relate to the level of alienation to military and postservice experience.

Although the findings apply directly to only one area, they may provide a partial indication of black veterans' adjustment in metropolitan areas. The literature on political participation suggests that urbanism may be a more important source of bias than regional differences, i.e., urban samples of blacks in both the North and the South may be more similar than urban and racial samples of Southern blacks (11). Thus, the results of this investigation may reflect characteristics of black veterans who return to metropolitan areas rather than problems specific to one geographic region.


The data were collected by personal interviews with 199 black veterans during the autumn of 1968 in Jacksonville, Florida. A list of black veterans was compiled from seven local agencies, which provided information on veterans by race; an enumeration was made of every third household in eighty randomly selected city blocks having 75 percent or more nonwhite households, and three "snowball techniques" were used.3 A random probability sample was drawn from veterans released from military service after January 1, 1963.

The nature of the black social structure, the widespread suspicion of white motives, and the general mobility of a young black male population all present unique difficulties in sampling and interviewing black veterans. These were overcome in large measure by obtaining the cosponsorship of the Jacksonville Urban League and using black veterans as contact men and field interviewers. Black veterans were trained to complete the enumeration, conduct twenty-five interviews under field conditions, and collect the data from the 199 respondents in the study. Cooperation was obtained from a local television station and two radio stations to explain the general objectives of the study to the black community.4

Of the 256 persons that were drawn in the sample, 77.7 percent, or 199, were interviewed.5 Since most of the names and addresses of black veterans were acquired from agencies providing some form of assistance, it was thought the sample could be biased toward "hard-luck" cases. Our best estimates of the population parameters for black veterans were the characteristics of thirty veterans whose names were obtained in the eighty-city-block enumeration. These veterans were compared to the remainder of the sample. The variables were length of service, year of military discharge, highest military rank, branch of service, number of weeks worked during the past year, marital status, employment status, income, education, occupation, and a general socioeconomic-status index. There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups when compared on the first nine variables. Those veterans selected from the enumeration were, however, significantly different from the remainder of the sample on the last three variables. Contrary to expectations, the veterans from the eighty-block enumeration had lower levels of education and occupation and consequently lower socioeconomic status. Since the majority of veterans' names were chosen from sources other than the enumeration, the results suggest that the total sample is slightly biased toward those veterans who have relatively higher socioeconomic status. That is not to say that these veterans are middle or upper-middle class. The vast majority of veterans are concentrated within the lower and lower-middle classes. It is only within this limited range of social-class positions that the difference between the enumeration and the remainder of the sample is apparent.

Difficulties In Adjustment To Civilian Life

The Department of Defense has released two studies of army veterans which report data by race. The first (24) reported that black veterans were twice as likely not to be employed full-time (10.7 percent) as white veterans (4.7 percent). The average weekly earnings for black veterans ($114) were less than those of white veterans ($125). Moreover, the percentage of veterans in postservice school and training programs was lower for black veterans (23.9 percent) than for white veterans (30.3 percent).

The second study (25) provides more detailed information on earnings for 388,000 army veterans. The average annual earnings for black veterans were $6,164 compared to $6,940 for white veterans. If educational differences are controlled, black earnings lagged behind those of whites by approximately $700. If scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) are controlled, black earnings lagged behind those of whites by $300. If both education and AFQT scores are controlled, the income differences between black and white veterans were typically $300-$500 per year. In general, Vietnam veterans earned less than other veterans. Lowest earnings were reported by men in combat arms (armor, infantry, and artillery). It was found that black earnings lagged behind those of whites, regardless of military occupation.

In the Jacksonville study the first question was to what extent black veterans were using GI benefits. The highest level of participation was found in GI life insurance and educational training benefits, in which 39.7 percent and 35.7 percent participated, respectively. The lowest level of participation was in farm (0.5 percent) and business (0.5 percent) loans, Veterans' Administration vocational rehabilitation (5 percent), and VA pensions (6.5 percent). Approximately 11 percent of the black veterans were participating in either VA hospitalization or had obtained home loans.

Another question had to do with adequacy of help black veterans receive when they seek assistance from local agencies. Out of 199 veterans interviewed, 123, or 61.8 percent, had sought assistance from the local VA office. Only eleven of the 123 said that they did not get adequate assistance. Of the remaining 112 who did receive adequate assistance, the help was in the following areas: educational or vocational training (seventy); home, farm, or business loans (fifteen); disability or hospitalization (eight); life insurance (two); personal, e.g., financial difficulties (five); general inquiry about veterans' benefits (nine); and other forms of assistance (three). Six of the eleven who said they did not receive adequate help went to the local VA office with a general inquiry about their benefits. Either these veterans were mistaken about what they were entitled to receive or the local VA office was more helpful to those who wanted specific types of assistance. In general, however, the veterans seeking assistance at the VA office did in their judgment receive adequate help.

A different pattern emerges when one examines the help that other local agencies provided black veterans seeking work. Ninety-two, or 46.2 percent of the 199 veterans, sought assistance in finding work. Although there are a number of different agencies, veterans primarily sought assistance from either the State Employment Service (seventy-three), or the Urban League (fourteen). Of the 73 seeking employment at the State Employment Service, only 33 thought they received adequate assistance. The Urban League provided better assistance in finding work. Eleven out of 14 said the Urban League's help was adequate. These findings are somewhat surprising. The Urban League had one person working only four days a month helping black veterans find jobs, in contrast to the State Employment Service, which had full-time veterans' specialists.

It appeared that the State Employment Service functioned primarily to meet the needs of employers rather than to help men seeking work, i.e., men with good qualifications were sent for job interviews with employers while the remainder filled out forms, took aptitude tests, and were told that they would be called at some future date. If this is true, it should be reflected in the previous work experience of the black veterans. Previous work experience did make a difference. Fifty-two percent of those who had worked before entering the service received help, compared to 26 percent who had no previous work experience.

Black veterans most likely to receive help at the State Employment office had already developed some marketable skills in the military. The employment office was more likely to find a veterans a job if he was a mechanic or truck driver than if he was trained specifically for a combat assignment.6 In short, those who need the assistance the most were frequently least likely to receive help.

The socioeconomic status of the recently returned black veteran is also of interest. Only 15.2 percent of the sample did not complete high school, and 24.8 percent completed one or more years of schooling beyond high school. The median education level was 12.6 years. Although figures suggest a relatively high level of educational attainment, 26 of the 187 in the labor force, or 13.9 percent, were unemployed. According to the Department of Labor (26), a man is "subemployed" if he works less than thirty-seven weeks during a twelve-month period. On the basis of this definition, 67, or 34.8 percent, were subemployed. Although this level of subemployment is about the same as that reported for black men who live in the ghettos (16), the figure appears very high for the level of educational attainment and veteran status of this sample.

Not only did they have high levels of unemployment and subemployment, but black veterans also tended to be concentrated in the lower range of the occupational structure. Only twenty-seven, or 13.6 percent, were in white-collar occupations. Thirty-two, or 16.1 percent, were foreman or skilled blue-collar workers, and 102, or 51.3 percent, were semikilled or unskilled workers. Twelve were full-time students. Both the concentration of veterans in semiskilled and unskilled jobs and the relatively high level of unemployment suggest that some black veterans were having difficulty in readjusting to civilian life. There was also a low level or personal monthly income for the 177 who reported incomes. The median monthly income was $394.50, or less than $100.00 a week. This information suggests that, although these veterans had relatively high levels of educational attainment, a large minority did not appear to be able to achieve an adequate and secure socioeconomic status.

In summary, we tried to answer the question, "Are black veterans 'making it' in civilian life? After they had a chance to mature from adolescence by proving themselves in military service, are they now encountering serious difficulties?" As with all questions of this nature, there is no simple answer. The findings suggest, however, that these veterans were having problems.

The black veterans had a relatively high level of educational attainment, with only 15.2 percent having dropped out of high school before graduation and 24.8 percent having a year or more of schooling beyond high school. Even with this level of education, a significant proportion of the black veterans were having difficulty working for a full year, earning enough to support themselves or a family, and finding meaningful work that could provide some security or the possibility of upward mobility. Almost 14 percent were unemployed, and better than twice that number were subemployed. Only 65.2 percent had worked 38 weeks or more during the previous twelve months, and their median income was less than $100.00 a week. The majority were concentrated in semiskilled or unskilled jobs.

Alienation As A Response

A variety of terms have been used to describe black anger and discontent. Although there are often different shades of meaning, concepts like "militancy" and "alienation" are frequently used interchangeably. As a popular concept militancy still tends to be used so loosely that it embraces too broad a range of activities. In the black community, leaders ranging from the most conservative to the most radical like to refer to themselves as militant agents for social change. In some instances, however, the call to "radical" action may involve little more than getting out the vote or working for political reform. Instead of using the term "militancy," we have chosen to identify the angry mood of discontent as "black alienation." Within this context we are not referring to the social-psychological conception that emphasizes a passive estrangement from self and society. Rather, our concern is with a more profound reaction to political processes and a sharper rejection of the values and institutions of white America. Olsen has distinguished this manifestation of active political discontent from political apathy. He describes alienation as follows:

The person feels that because of its very nature his social world is not worth participating in. Alienation is voluntarily chosen by the individual as an attitude toward the social system, as he realizes that the system does not provide worthwhile activities or goals in social life [18:291-92].
Campbell has described this form of alienation as an orientation toward the world of politics that is "not simply one of detachment, but of suspicion, distrust, hostility and cynicism." He says, "These people believe that political process is a fraud and a betrayal of public trust" [3:14]. Aldrich has commented:

Viewed in this light, alienation is transformed from a condition of the person's mind into a condition of the political order, with the various political objects seen as symbols of the individual's discontent [1:16].
Blacks who are alienated have specific objects of political distrust and bonds of identify that make them a self-conscious collectivity. This type of collectivity has been described as an alienated solitary group of people acting as potential partisans in the political process. By Gamson's definition, this type of group represents "collections of individuals who think in terms of the effect of political decisions on the aggregate and feel that they are in some way personally affected by what happens to the aggregate" (9:35). Because of the collective reinforcement of alienation, we would expect the manifestation of black alienation to be different from that of white intellectuals, blue-collar workers, white college students, or white veterans. While substantial segments of all these groups may be alienated, each group's unique location in the social structure creates a different perception of the sources of its alienation, as well as different political and social remedies.

Black alienation was defined as an active rejection of white institutions and values, as well as the support of those beliefs and representatives of the black community that foster and encourage sentiments of black nationalism and separatism. Black alienation was considered to be multidimensional, with six interrelated dimensions. It was measured by means of a 28-item scale that consisted of six subscales, as set forth in Table 1.7

Source: "Minority Veterans." In Source Material on the Vietnam Era Veteran. Congress. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, 173-236.  Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1974. Committee Print 26.  Part 3: Minority Veterans.  The Returning Black Vietnam Era Veteran / James M. Fendrich. (p. 222-233).  (Originally published in Social Service Review, March 1972.)

Distrust of authorities. The first dimension was distrust of white political authorities. White political figures are regarded by many blacks as incompetent and inept in achieving the collective goals of black people and thus as biased against blacks in handling conflicts of interest (9). Distrust of white authorities apparently increases with closer proximity to the authority figures. The two most distrusted authorities were policemen (57 percent) and labor leaders (37 percent). Only two white authorities were perceived with some degree of trust: congressmen (39 percent) and a member of a civil-rights commission (56 percent).

Rejection of the public philosophy. The second dimension was the rejection of a public philosophy that is believed to pay lip service to the beliefs in justice, equality, and opportunity (9). Rejection of current public philosophy increased as it became more abstract. Seventy-seven percent of the veterans believed that this nation is more concerned with law and order than with justice, and 67 percent thought the concept of equal opportunity was only a myth. Only 40 percent believed they were being judged on their abilities instead of their race. Such a perception may be related closely to their individual experiences.

Positive black identification. The third dimension was positive black identification, which referred to a set of attitudes that foster a separate social-psychological identity. This process supplants traditional white values, concerns, and definitions of self with alternatives that are principally or exclusively black. Positive racial pride was illustrated by the 90 percent who believe that African history should be part of the curriculum for black children, 65 percent who identified themselves first as black men and then as Americans, and the 50 percent who considered "Afro" hairstyles appropriate for black women.

Support for structural change. The fourth dimension was support for leaders and organizations that have rejected traditional militant reform efforts and advocated, in their rhetoric and action, the restructuring of American society. Three leaders and five organizations were selected because of their public rejection of the traditional reform efforts of the black moderates and their advocacy in rhetoric and action of the racial restructuring of American society. None of the leaders and only two of the organizations, the Congress of Racial Equality (60 percent), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (58 percent), were evaluated positively by a majority of the veterans. While a majority of the veterans did not positively evaluate radical leaders and organizations, the lowest level of support was 33 percent for both the Deacons for Defense and Justice and the Black Muslims. It is also interesting to note the rather even split on the Black Panthers. Of veterans who had opinions, 39 percent gave the Panthers a positive evaluation and 40 percent a negative evaluation. Of three black leaders, Stokely Carmichael was given a slightly more positive evaluation (43 percent) than H. Rap Brown (38 percent) or Malcolm X (37 percent).

Black separation. The fifth dimension was sentiment favorable to political and social separation of blacks from white America. The general sentiment seemed to be that blacks are more divided on the local level than on the national level about their control of various social institutions. The trend was to prefer cooperation as they approached the national level of social involvement. For example, only 11 percent of the respondents believed blacks and whites can never live together peacefully.

Violence. The sixth dimension – sympathetic support for the use of violence as a constraining influence on white society – drew substantial support. On the whole the respondents seemed to reject violence as an instrument of social change, although a substantial degree of apprehension seemed to be present, as indicated by the 58 percent who agreed that a major race riot could easily break out in Jacksonville and the 36 percent who said that violence was the only way for blacks to obtain their rights.

Upon examining the distribution of responses we found the majority of these black veterans were not highly alienated. Only a large minority were highly alienated across all six dimensions – about 40 percent. It should be noted, however, that the course of the black protest movement during the past fifteen years has never been determined by majority opinions. Instead, there have been vanguards of blacks that have been thrust into active forms of participation when their particular qualifications and skills became important to the evolving protest movement. Assuming a model of a two-step flow of communication, the large minority of highly alienated veterans could become the opinion leaders for the black community, particularly if black disenchantment with white America intensifies.

There are some data, however, that suggest that the minority of alienated veterans may be becoming a majority. When he interviewed 392 black enlisted men in Vietnam, Wallace Terry (23) found that 64 percent of them believed that their real fight was in the United States. Only 38 percent agreed that weapons have no place in the blacks' struggle for their rights. Nearly 50 percent said they would use weapons in the United States, while 13 percent said they would consider arming themselves if forced to. Only 14 percent of the black soldiers said they would follow without reservation orders to put down rebellions at home, and more than 45 percent stated they would refuse such orders. In general, Terry found that black soldiers were "fed up" with fighting and dying in a war they consider the white man's folly. Their anger was not directed toward communism in Vietnam, but toward racism in America. In short, the spirit of militancy has enveloped the black G.I. on the battleground as much as it has the student on the college campus.

In our research (4, 7, 8) we found a number of variables related to the level of alienation of black veterans. It was hypothesized that the level of alienation would be related to the strains of serving in the military, the strains of adjusting to civilian life, and the weak preventive social controls within the black community.

The measures of strains in the military that were significantly related to black alienation were: (a) negative attitudes toward military service; (b) being drafted rather than enlisting in the armed forces; (c) having a low investment in the military occupation as a career; and (d) having few close white friendships while in the military. Combat duty in Vietnam was also related to black alienation, although the association was not statistically significant. Fifty-eight percent of those who served in Vietnam had high alienation scores, compared to 41 percent of those who did not serve in Vietnam.

The measures of strains in the adjustment process to civilian life that were related to alienation were (a) the belief that other black veterans were having adjustment problems, (b) perceived status inconsistency, (c) nonparticipation or lack of assistance from the Veterans Administration, (d) nonparticipation in the G.I. bill or vocational rehabilitation benefits, and (e) not seeking or not receiving help from private and public employment agencies in finding work. These findings suggest that strains are generated by ineffective efforts to assist black veterans in the adjustment to civilian life and by an inappropriate allocation of socioeconomic rewards to black veterans. The measures of weak preventive controls that were related to high levels of black alienation were being young, single, and not actively involved in any religious organization.

Summary And Discussion

Part of the military parlance of the Vietnam War is the question, "How short are you?" Generally this is an inquiry about how much time remains in a twelve-month tour of duty under dreadful conditions. One black soldier, when asked this question, answered, "Man, I will never be short." Judging by our findings on the difficulties in adjustment, the soldier is correct. The veterans' benefits and assistance available do not appear to be adequate in helping veterans become upwardly mobile. Even with relatively high levels of educational attainment, black veterans were found to have difficulty finding work and earning enough income to support themselves and their families. Almost 14 percent were unemployed, and approximately twice that number were subemployed. Of those working, better than 50 percent were concentrated in semiskilled or unskilled jobs. The median family income was less than $100.00 a week. The results of the study suggest that a large minority of the veterans are highly alienated across all six dimensions covered. These veterans could become a vanguard for the black community, particularly if black disenchantment with white America intensifies.

In the beginning of this paper it was noted that black veterans could become the cutting edge of the black protest movement. How radical the movement may become is difficult to predict. We do know, however, that a necessary condition for joining a radical social movement is a significant level of alienation from established societal values and institutions (6, 13). Veterans like Robert Williams, who attempted reforms in Monroe, North Carolina, before being chased into exile, and Ahmed Evans, whose guerrilla band fought it out with Cleveland police, and veterans organizations such as the original group of Deacons for Defense and Justice may be harbingers of the whirlwind of defensive and offensive violence in the future.

Authors like Killian (12) and Oppenheimer (19) have explored the possibility of expanding black radical movements. They have examined the arguments about "why it can't happen here" and found them lacking. Killian states that these arguments are rooted in the beliefs that the United States political system rests upon a firm foundation of consensus on basic democratic values; that there is remarkable flexibility or resilience in the political structure and public institutions, which enables the system to maintain its coherence and continuity in spite of crises and internal conflicts; and, finally, that the affluent majority has the ability to wish away poverty. Effective counter arguments are presented for each belief. The impossible black revolution may be indeed possible, if not successful (12).

Oppenheimer is critical of what he calls the three "establishment strategies" for handling the racial crisis: (a) the repressive strategy, which creates a police state when it feels threatened by increasingly dangerous social movement and demand for change; (b) the two-war strategy, which attempts to bring about reforms by a war on poverty while at the same time advocating the use of force in suppressing uprisings; and (c) the cooperation strategy, in which there are attempts to establish a neo-colonial system of black capitalism and black power. Oppenheimer believes that each strategy will prove to be incapable of solving the racial crisis and, therefore, that a situation of potential revolution exists in the United States (19). If these assessments prove to be correct, we believe black veterans will contribute a significant proportion of the membership in that movement. Bensman has observed:

In every period of historical crisis there are groups, occupations, and classes who are "accidentally" located in the "nutcrackers" of history. Such groups experience in extreme form all the cross-pressures, tensions, and contradictions of a society in the process of tearing itself apart [2:XV].
Because of both the qualifications that must be met before entering military service and the organizational skills learned in the military, veterans are potentially well fitted to assume leadership roles within existing reform programs, as well as in fighting city hall. Admittedly, there is no clear way of foreseeing which drummer black veterans will follow. Our vision may be clouded because we cannot see the legitimate opportunity structures opening to black veterans. However, our projections are not without historical precedent. Colonial soldiers returning to Algeria, Kenya, and other former colonies did become part of the vanguard to destroy colonialism. Veterans like Medgar and Charles Evers were not content to be pushed back into second-class citizenship when they returned from World War II. They were willing to take up arms to obtain their rights (28). Who will suggest that Vietnam veterans will be less demanding of institutional change and better opportunity structures?

1 Research for this paper was supported by Florida State University Research Council Grant No. 20-036.

2 Ironically, the extent of black integration in combat units has become a source of national embarrassment. In 1968, approximately 9.8 percent of the fighting men in Vietnam were black, but they accounted for 20 percent of these on the front and 14.1 percent of the fatalities (10).

3 A total of 945 names were derived from the various sample sources. The seven agencies which provided names and addresses were: (a) Urban League Veterans Affairs Office, (b) Urban League Employment files, (c) Edward Waters College, (d) Duval County Veterans' Service Center, (e) Stanton Technical and Vocational High School, (f) local VA office, and (g) the Jacksonville Opportunities and Industrialization Center. The "snowball techniques" yielded a total of 354 names. The snowball techniques consisted of (a) sending stamped postcards requesting names and addresses of black veterans who might qualify for this study to the first four hundred names that were obtained, (b) requesting at the end of each interview the names of additional black veterans who were discharged since 1963, and (c) asking potential interviewees for additional names and addresses. Of the total of 945 names gathered, 188 were duplicates and 50 had incomplete addresses, leaving a final total of 772 from which to draw the sample.

4 In the television appearance as well as the news announcements care was taken not to bias the respondents. A short general message stated the purpose of the study of the readjustment of black veterans to civilian life and the dates of the interviews.

5 Of the 57 persons sampled, but not interviewed, 28 (10.9 percent) had moved, 25 (9.7 percent) could not be located, 2 (0.78 percent) refused to be interviewed, and 2 (0.78 percent) questionnaires were invalidated. Two callbacks were made if the veteran was not initially located.

6 Only 8 of 24 trained for combat duties were helped by the state employment service. The distribution of those helped who had received further military training was: 2 of 4 in food services, 2 of 6 in supply work, 1 of 2 in office work, 5 of 13 in communications, 6 of 7 machine operators, 3 of 5 mechanics, 1 of 4 medical personnel, and 5 of 8 who received other types of military training.

7 Originally there were 29 items in the black-alienation scale. However, one item which did not correlate strongly with the subtotal scale and total score was dropped.

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