July 23, 2008 Veterans History Project Commemorates 60th Anniversary of Integration of Armed Forces

Press Contact: Jeffrey Lofton (202) 707-6432; Jessica Maccaro (202) 707-9822
Public Contact: Veterans History Project (202) 707-4916

The Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP), a program of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center, is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the historic integration of the United States armed forces on July 26. “All served, all deserve our thanks, and the stories archived in the VHP collection represent the service of veterans from all races, all ethnicities,” said VHP Director Bob Patrick. Visit the VHP Web site at www.loc.gov/vets, and click on “View Featured Interviews” to listen to the firsthand accounts of veterans from all backgrounds, including African Americans and Asian Pacific Americans. Veterans representing other minority groups will be featured during coming months. Pearle W. Mack Jr. is one of the 11 African Americans featured in “African Americans at War.” He served in the segregated U.S. Army of World War II and went on to a lifetime career in the armed forces. In his interview, Mack talks about the changes in the attitudes toward race that occurred during his 30-year career. “The Next Generation” features Willie Boyd, who served two tours of duty in Vietnam as the only black man in his platoon. Boyd recalls: “Once you get with a unit and you start working as a team, color never comes up.” Veterans who share personal histories with the Veterans History Project often do not specify their race or ethnicity. Patrick said: “As we mark this important anniversary, I encourage all veterans who share their personal histories to indicate their heritage as part of the interview process to ensure the diversity of those who served America is fully represented in the VHP collection.” The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections. The Library seeks to spark the public’s imagination and celebrate human achievement through its programs and exhibits. In doing so, the institution helps foster the informed and involved citizenry upon which American democracy depends. Many of the rich resources and treasures of the Library may be accessed through its award-winning Web site www.loc.gov and via interactive exhibitions on a new, personalized Web site at www.myLOC.gov. The Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center was created in 2000 by Congress to record the firsthand accounts of American service personnel in major conflicts beginning with World War I, and it actively collects veterans’ personal accounts of the Global War on Terror. While the project seeks interviews from all American war veterans, there is a timely need for interviews from veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. VHP seeks interviews from female veterans from all conflicts, veterans representing all minority communities, as well as Merchant Marine, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve veterans in order to build a more balanced and representative collection. Volunteer to record the firsthand recollections of war veterans for the growing archive within the American Folklife Center’s Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. Those interested can download a VHP Field Kit from the Veterans History Project Web site at www.loc.gov/vets, request a kit via email at vohp@loc.gov or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848.


PR 08-130
ISSN 0731-3527