The goal is to have a better understanding of the relationship between past and present war issues.
DENVER – Regis University is offering a course called Stories from Wartime for its students and the public. The class offers discussions with veterans and civilians who were affected by the war. The public history series and undergraduate course will be hosted online this year. This semester, the class will focus on the wide range of black military experiences.
“We really want to have a complex view of how we think about the variety of stories from the wartime experience,” said associate professor Lauren Hirshberg. “The central question is: what does it mean to serve a country with second-class citizenship?”
According to the school, the class grew out of learning a story about a former Regis student. In 1942, Walter Springs was a Regis student and a beloved graduate student who was also an African American. After graduating, he entered service as a US Army officer. When he was training in Texas in 1942, he was murdered in a café by an official White colleague.
“Given the context of what we are learning [World War II], is a story that could easily fit into the training of other African American soldiers or even the return of war, ”said Hirshberg.
Hirshberg teaches the class and said he wants his students to better understand the relationship between past and present wartime issues.
“If the experience of war when it came to African-American soldiers was with the hope and expectation of racial progress in this country,” said Hirshberg.
“It is an invaluable lesson about our past, especially during World War II, when the United States was fighting Hitler and the Nazis, ”said Dani Newsum, daughter of the Tuskegee military. “What did these men endure while the United States was fighting Hitler and Aryan racist beliefs in Germany [while] they were fighting at home. “
Dani’s father, Colonel Leroy “Buck” Newsum was one of the original Tuskegee airmen during World War II. She said her father faced racism while training to be a military pilot in the south. She will share her father’s experiences with the online class.
“They were training in Alabama in the early 1940s and that was a problem there,” she said. “They were so important to African Americans at that time … these black men who risked everything and supported everything for their country, but also for their people.”
Both Hirshberg and Newsum agree that these oral histories are important in helping to educate others to understand the effects of the war efforts felt by black soldiers.
“Knowing our stories helps make us better citizens today,” said Newsum. “They fought for this country and need to be honored for that.”
For more information about the lesson, click on here.
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