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African American Women in the Military and at War:
Selected Reading List

(Revised 3/2012)

Science Reference Section
Science, Technology, and Business Division
Library of Congress

Photo: African American women in military garb leaning forward on a fence post together.
Photo: "American Negro nurses in Australia." Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

     In observance of Women's History Month, this bibliography lists books on a little explored facet of African American history--African American women in the military and their services to the war effort. The Library of Congress has a large collection of materials on this topic, spanning several centuries and including articles, books, dissertations, technical reports, photographs and first person accounts. This bibliography includes only a sampling of the materials available at the Library of Congress. The works explore biographical materials, as well as the cultural and social aspects of African American women in the military. An attempt has been made to include significant chapters in books, dissertations and master's thesis, , as well as internet resources which may be freely available.


Akers, Regina Theresa. Doing their part: the WAVES in World War II. Howard University, 2000. 245p.
   AAT 9981740
   See especially chapter 7, "On the broad road to victory,1943-1945," p. 179-231.

Black Americans in defense of our nation. Washington, DC, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity and Safety Policy, Dept. of Defense. U. S. G.P.O., 1985. 189 p.
   UB418.A47 B54 1985
   See especially "Black women in the military service of the United States," p. 89-106; see also listings of African American graduates under the individual service academies.

Black Americans in defense of our nation: a pictorial documentary of the Black American male and female participation and involvement in the military affairs of the United States of America. Washington, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy/Equal Opportunity, Dept. of Defense. U.S. G.P.O., 1991. 300 p.
   UB418.A47B54 1991
   See especially chapter IV, "The black female in pursuit of military objectives from colonial times and slavery through equality of opportunity,” p. 137-148.

Black women in America. Darlene Clark Hine, editor in chief. 2nd ed. Oxford, New York, Oxford University Press, 2005. 3 v.
   E185.86.B542 2005

Blood, Katherine. Negro women war workers. Washington, Women's Bureau, United States Dept. of Labor, 1945. 23 p.
   HD6093.A35 no. 205

Daniels, K. B. Social construction of race and gender: Black women officers in the U.S. Navy. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA. Jun 1994. 70p.

It's our military, too!: women and the U. S. Military. Edited by Judith Hicks Stiehm. Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1996. 309 p.
   UB418.W65I88 1996
   See especially "Equal opportunity in the U.S. Navy: perceptions of active-duty African American women," p. 83-102 and "From under representation to over representation: African American women," p. 115-135.

Johnson, Jesse L. Black women in the Armed Forces, 1942-1974: a pictorial history. Hampton, VA, Johnson, c1974. 110 p.

Keys, Carol. "And the Army keeps rolling along": a study of the effects of gender and race on women officers' careers and the strategies they use to survive and succeed. Ann Arbor, MI, UMI, 1997. 333 p.
   AAT 9822253
   Southern Illinois University at Carbondale

Moore, Brenda L. To serve my country, to serve my race: the story of the only African American WACS stationed overseas during World War II. New York, New York University Press, c1996. 272 p.
   UB418.A47M66 1996

Morris, Robert V. Black faces of war: a legacy of honor from the American Revolution to today. Minneapolis, MN, Zenith Press, 2011. 160 p.
   E185.63.M67 2011
   See especially chapter 4, “World War II: Black women at war,” p. 66-77, and “Leadership and inclusion of women in the Army: 1974-1999,” p. 142-145.

Putney, Martha S. When the nation was in need: Blacks in the World War II. Metuchen, NJ, Scarecrow Press, 1992. 231 p.
   D810.N4P88 1992

Salter, Krewasky A. I., "Sable officers": African-American military officers, 1861-1948. Ann Arbor, MI, UMI, 1996.
405 p.
   AAT 9700192 <Electronic Resources>
   Dissertation: Florida State University.
   See especially chapter 17, "Women go to war," p. 339-266.

Sims-Wood, Janet. "We served America too!" Personal recollections of African American women in the Women's Army Corps during World War II. Ann Arbor, MI, UMI,1994. 296 p.
   AAT 9519611 <Electronic resource>
   Dissertation: The Union Institute.

Swann, Leslie M. African American women in the World War II defense industry. Ann Arbor, MI, UMI, 2004. 407 p.
   AAT 3151038 <Electronic resource>
   Dissertation: Temple University

Turner, Robbie G. Minority women officers in the Navy: past, present and future prospects. Monterey, CA, Naval Postgraduate School. Mar 1991. 79 p.
   ADA242636 <Sci TRS>
   This report may also be purchased from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5825 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161. NTIS telephone: (703) 605-6585. NTIS web site:

We were there: voices of African American veterans from World War II to the war in Iraq. Compiled by Yvonne Latty. New York, Amistad, 2004. 184 p.
   E185.63.4 2004



Adams-Ender, Clara L. My rise to the stars: how a sharecropper's daughter became an Army general. Lake Ridge, VA, CAPE Associates, c2001. 247 p.
   UB418.A47A33 2001

Bragg, Janet Harmon. Soaring above setbacks: the autobiography of Janet Harmon Bragg, African American Aviator. Washington, DC, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996. 120 p.
   TL540.B693 A3 1996

Earley, Charity Adams. One woman's Army: a Black officer remembers the WAC. College Station, TX, College Station, Texas A&M University Press, c1989. 218 p. (Texas A&M University military history series, 12)
   D811.E23 1989

Gordon, Violet Hill (World War II, 1942-1945; Women's Army Auxiliary Corps). In Experiencing war: stories from the Veteran's History Project: Patriotism.

Harris, Gail, and Pam McLaughlin. A woman's war: the professional and personal journey of the Navy's first African American female intelligence officer. Lanham, MD, Scarecrow Press, 2010. 270 p. (Scarecrow professional intelligence education series, 10)
   VB231.U54H37 2010

Spinks, Connie Rose (Persian Gulf War Era, 1990-2003; Afghanistan and Iraq Wars, 2001-present; Army). In Disabled Veterans: The Unhealed Wounds. (Experiencing War: Stories from the Veteran’s History Project, Library of Congress.)

Stuart, Oneida Miller (World War II, 1939-1945; Army Nurse Corps). In Experiencing war: stories from the Veteran's History Project: African American pioneers.

Taylor, Susie King. A Black woman’s Civil War memoirs : reminiscences of my life in camp with the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops, late 1st South Carolina Volunteers. Edited by Patricia W. Romero. New York, M. Wiener Pub., Distributed by the Talman Co., c1988. 154 p.
   E492.94 33rd .T3 1988

Tucker, Phillip Thomas. Cathy Williams: from slave to female Buffalo Soldier. Mechanicsburg, PA, Stackpole Books, c2002. 258 p.
   E185.97.W694T83 2002

Woods, Elsie Dell (World War II, 1943-1945; Women's Army Corps). In Experiencing war: stories from the Veteran's History Project: African American pioneers.



Air Force graduates first Black women pilot (T. Claiborne). Ebony, v. 38, Jan. 1983:46.

Bird, Julie. Making history: Brigadier General Selected Harris and her climb to the top. Air Force Times, v. 50 July 16, 1990:12-13
   Microfilm 01400 UG <MicRR>

Black history month: proud to serve: African American Army Nurse Corps officers. Bethesda, MD, Office of Medical History, Office of the Surgeon General. February 2003.

Campbell, D'Ann. Bibliographic essay: women in the military. Choice, v. 31, Sept. 1993: 63-70.

Carnegie, M. Elizabeth. Nurses and war. Black nurses at the Front. The American journal of nursing, v. 84, Oct. 1984: 1250-1252.

Dillard, Benita R. African American women's voices: using primary sources to introduce students to the Civil War. Black history bulletin, v. 73, summer-fall 2010: 16-20.

Drew, Robin. Army's (2d Lt. Marcella A.) Hayes, 1st Black woman aviator in U. S. Forces. United States Army aviation digest, v. 26, Jan. 1980: inside back cover

Education of Margaret Jackson: member of the Women's Army Corps, Sept. 1943-Mar. 1946. Minerva: quarterly report on women and the military, v. 9, Winter 1991: 56-77.

First Black female Air Force General (Marcelite J. Harris). Air Force times, v. 50, Jan. 22, 1990:61
   Microfilm 01400 UG <MicRR>

Hauslohner, Abigail. Sister soldiers. Essence, v. 41, Sept. 2010: 226-234.

Haynes, Karima A. Sisters-in-arms. Ebony, v. 49, Mar. 1994: 118-122.

Howard, Grendel. Carrying forth a tradition (Black women in the Army). Soldiers, v. 40, Feb. 1985: 28-32

King, Lisa Y. In search of women of African descent who served in the Civil War Union Navy. The Journal of Negro history, v. 83, autumn 1998: 302-309.
   E185.J86 and <Electronic resource>

McKenna, Pat. Nursing old wounds: retired Major recalls struggles as first Black in regular Army Nurse Corps. Airman, v. 42, Apr. 1998: 38-41

Miller, Richard E. The golden fourteen, plus: Black Navy women in World War One. Minerva: quarterly report on women and the military, v. 13, fall-winter 1995: 7-13

Moore, Brenda L. African-American women in the U.S. military. Armed forces and society, v. 17, spring 1991: 363-384.

Moore, Brenda L. Serving with dual mission: African-American women in World War II. National journal of sociology,
v. 7, summer 1993: 1-42.
   WMLC 93/1682

Muradian, Vago. Guard has first Black female general. Army Times, v. 54, Dec 6, 1993:25
   Microfilm 0959 <MicRR>

Randolph, Laura B. The untold story of Black women in the Gulf War. African-Americans helped redefine the role of females in the military. Ebony, v. 46, Sept. 1991: 101-107.

Walker, Nicole. Vernice Armour, 1st Black female combat pilot, serves in Persian Gulf as family copes. Jet, v.103, Apr. 14, 2003: 6-11.



African-Americans and the U. S. Navy: first female officers. Online library of selected images. Washington, Dept. of the Navy, Navy Historical Center.

Andrusyszyn, Greta H. Women in the military: a selected bibliography. U. S. Army War College Library, Carlisle Barracks, PA. August 2009.

Bellaifaire, Judith. Volunteering for risk: Black military women overseas during the wars in Korea and Vietnam.

Bey, Jacqueline S. Women in the military: a selected bibliography. U. S. Army War College Library, Carlisle Barracks, PA. January 2005.

Burger, Barbara. The Lion’s history: researching World War II images of African Americans. Prologue special issue: federal records and African American history, v. 29, no. 2, summer 1997.

Female Buffalo Soldier -with documents. Cathay Williams or William Cathay (Cathey) Private, Thirty-eighth U. S. Infantry 1866-1868. An exceptional woman. Buffalo Soldier Network.

Krawczynski, Keith. African American Navy, Marine Corps, Women’s Reserves, and Coast Guard service during World War II. In A historic context for the African American military experience, by Steven D. Smith and James A. Zeidler. U. S. Army Construction Engineering Research Laboratories (USACERL). July 1988.

Library of Congress: Prints & Photographs Online Catalog
   Search African American and women and military

Library of Congress: Veteran’s History Project
   Go to
   Search +race:Black +or +African +American +women
   Many narratives have race unspecified. Some suggested terms for searching including WAC, WAAC, Army Nurse Corps.
   Materials can be viewed in the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress

National Archives -- Military Resources - Women in the Military

Penn, Lisha B. Records of military agencies relating to African Americans from the post-World War I period to the Korean War. Washington, National Archives and Records Administration. 2006. (Reference information paper, 105)

Putney, Martha S. A historical review of Black women in the military. Remarks delivered by Dr. Putney at Ford’s Theater at a National Park Service ceremony for the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System, July 17, 1998.

Simms-Wood, Janet. "We served America, too!" Blacks in the Women's Army Corps during World War II; a selected bibliography. Washington, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center Howard University. February 1995.

Simpson, Diana. African Americans in military history bibliography: women. Malcom AFB, AL, Air University Library. February 1999.

Williams, Rudi. Black WAC joined to be who she wanted to be. (Catherine L. Bowie). Washington, Armed Forces Press Service. (Home for Heroes.)

Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation
   See: Brief History of Black Women in the Military
   See: Bibliography

Women in the Military. In Pictures of African Americans during World War II: Select Audiovisual Records. Washington, National Archives.



Charity Adams Earley, 1928-2002 (bulk 1942-2002). Description: 1,000 items. 8 containers, plus 1 oversize. 3.2 linear feet.
   0630M <ManRR>
   Finding Aid:

NAACP photographs of African American women in the military services during World War II. 76 photographic prints.    LOT 13103 (F) USE MICROFILM [P&P]
   Emphasis is on activities of the Army Nurse Corps and the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), later called Women's Army Corps (WAC), at bases in Australia, England, France, and the United States. Activities include training, recruitment, clerical work, and recreation, such as Army nurses playing cards and knitting, and a WAAC band in a parade. Includes portraits of officers and new recruits. Prominent people depicted include: Mary McLeod Bethune at a National Civilian Advisory Committee luncheon, Fort Des Moines, Iowa; Joe Louis welcoming a group of new WAAC enlistees; Walter White visiting the WAAC training center at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. One photo of tennis instructor of the 3510 WAF Squadron, Randolph Air Force Base.
   Selected images also available in Prints & Photographs Online Catalog,

U. S. Naval History and Heritage Command - First female officers - African Americans and the U. S. Navy. (Photographs)

World War I Document Archive - The American Negro in the World War
   Full text copy of: Scott, Emmet J. Scott’s official history of the American Negro in the World War. A complete and authentic narration, from official sources, of the participation of American soldiers of the Negro race in the World War for democracy ... a full acount of the war work organizations of colored men and women and other civilian activities, including the Red Cross, the Y.M.C.A., the Y.W.C.A. and the War camp community service, with official summary of treaty of peace and League of Nations covenant. Prefaced with highest tributes to the American Negro by Hon. Newton D. Baker ... Gen. John J. Pershing ... and the late Theodore Roosevelt. Chicago, Homewood Press, 1919. 511 p.
   See especially Chapter 27,"Negro women in war work,"

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   March 7, 2012
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