My late uncle, Elijah, served in World War II in France, and though he came home as many men emotionally unwound by the barbarity of war, it was his memories of his time spent in France that would bring light into his eyes. As a child of integration who witnessed its unsettled conclusion through political and social resistance in the Louisiana parish where I grew up, this country of France where romance and bravery seemed more the story of myth than reality forever appealed to me.
World War II was a transitional war through its modernization of conflict seen through the immediacy of technology, both warfare and media. For minority groups, the opportunity to serve one’s country based upon one’s innate ability superseded the antiquated notions of how one was treated within the boundaries of 1940s America.
As a librarian, I am allowed to present to my students life as a panorama rather than through a single lens of a core subject as I aid the students' ability to think through an idea or an event long after the scheduled lesson ends in their classroom. It is more than an appeal to cultural sensitivity to add to the rolls of America's brave warriors the names of minorities and women; it adds more layers to the humanity of man to discover and recite their stories.