Considering their historically marginalized place in American democracy, one wonders why African Americans bothered to fight in any American conflict. This conundrum is especially perplexing in World War II, a war to free millions from tyranny. Scholars have neglected to ask the fundamental question; why did the African American community send thousands of men to fight for a democratic way of life in which they could not fully participate? The answers to this question, and there are undoubtedly multiple responses, may shed light on contemporary quandaries–situations that involve military mobilization for the good, not of the whole society, but of narrow constituencies. This is the central question of this book. The chapters explore the cultural context where citizenship for African Americans was negotiated through military service.