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The Walter White Project

Randy Stakeman, Jackson Stakeman, Authors

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Walter White investigates in World War II

In 1944 Walter White spent time in both the European and Pacific theaters of war in order to investigate the treatment of African American servicemen in World War II. In both Europe and the Pacific Islands he found instances of military "justice" which punished African American servicemen with harsher penalties for lesser crimes than whites.  He investigated instances of white prejudice that spilled over into violence against African Americans.  He uncovered general orders which kept trained African American combat troops in service positions when their role in combat was greatly needed. He felt that his military "handlers" tried to keep him away from situations in which African American servicemen could speak frankly to him, but he found ways around him.

He was pleased to find that some white officers were candid, helpful and gracious with him.  He found instances where the exigencies of war had forced limited integration at times that both whites and blacks found successful. He met with Eisenhower in Europe and MacArthur in the Pacific as well as other high ranking officers. He dutifully relayed complaints about injustices to them and always felt he was heeded whether or not anything ultimately came of his discussions. Servicemen were glad to have the secretary of the NAACP fighting for their rights whether or not that fight was successful.

More than anything his time abroad caused him to think anew about racism as a global problem.
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