Unnamed Negro Troops

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Unnamed Negro Troops
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Unnamed Negro Troops
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These are the two different groups of "Negro troops" who serve in the U.S. Army in World War II and Korea that Devries commands in "By the People" (134). When Faulkner has the story's narrator say that in Korea, Devries "commands troops containing Negroes" rather than "Negro troops," as in the earlier war (134), he may be acknowledging the actual, slow history of racial integration in the military. World War II was the first time the U.S. Army allowed blacks to serve in combat, but kept them in segregated units that were commanded, as the narrator notes, by white officers. Unofficially blacks were integrated into white units as replacements during the Battle of the Bulge, but it wasn't until after the war that President Truman officially de-segregated the Army, and not until Korea that black soldiers officially fought alongside whites - and then again only after the need for replacements became acute. The Mansion represents these Negro soldiers the same way, except that there the scenes that took place in Korea in the short story are chronologically shifted back to World War II (338-340). In the novel, Faulkner's narrator says Devries "commanded Negro infantry in battle" before the end of 1943, although historically it wasn't until 1944 that the Army committed black troops to combat - at which time they served with distinction.