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writing of Inman s War The truth is Reviewed by Jerome Klinkowitz Profes. sor of English University of Northern, stranger than fiction The letters were from a Iowa. Once upon a time in the fall of, 2002 Jeffrey Copeland whose area young African American Inman Perkins was a science. of YA literature is the lives of poets teacher at Charles Sumner High. who write for young adults and, WWII soldier to his wife School in St Louis Missouri There. who had little past experience with Some were from the wife he met and married Olivia. artistic or creative writing Merriwether who taught science In. stumbled across an old suitcase full to the soldier nearly 150 1942 he joined the United States. of letters at a flea market in Army Air Force serving in a Signal. Belleville Illinois just across the letters written between Construction Battalion that saw. Mississippi River from his home fall 1942 and late spring combat in Italy at Anzio which. town of St Louis Missouri The saw some of the fiercest and. letters were from a young African 1944 costliest fighting of World War II. American WWII soldier to his wife As a teacher he was a leader and. Some were from the wife to the became even more of one in the. to read the accounts of the battal, soldier nearly 150 letters written service In doing so he quickly. ion Perkins lead And there is more, between fall 1942 and late spring attained the rank of First Sergeant.
to the story of writing this book, 1944 The reading of those letters Why not higher Because he was an. that you can read about in, sent Copeland on an odyssey He African American His unit was. Copeland s introduction to his, went to the school in St Louis segregated officers commissions. annotated bibliography below, where the husband and wife had were limited to whites Being First. When I read Inman s War I, taught and was told The records Sergeant was as far as Inman.
thought it was perfect for young, might be stored downtown some Perkins was allowed to go. adult readers as well as for anyone, where But on the way out of the To his men however he might. interested in WWII or the African, building the elderly custodian who as well have been a general a. American experience in the Mid, had overheard said I know about highly respected and beloved one at. west in the 1940 s It would be a, Inman and Olivia Perkins that Disregarding military custom.
great book for high school history, Copeland learned that some of that they saluted him as if he were. students or college students in, schools students of the era in which General Eisenhower himself And. African American Studies I hope, the Perkins taught were quite well while it is the Eisenhowers and. The ALAN Review readers keep, known Later standing in line after Pattons who have had their stories. teaching those important units on, a lecture to meet the great Dick told by leading historians it is.
WWII and encourage individual, Gregory who had been one of Sergeant Perkins who with scholar. students and reading groups to read, Olivia s students Copeland showed Jeffrey S Copeland s help tells his. widely in the scores of great books, Gregory a picture of Inman in own During his training in the U S. on the subject I hope that the, uniform standing next to Olivia on and while stationed abroad Inman. following review and bibliography, the steps of the high school and wrote his fianc e and soon.
will help you round out your, asked him if he remembered these secretly his wife Olivia nearly 150. classroom and library collections, people Recognizing his teacher letters which she saved for the rest. Gregory got misty eyed and when of her life For Inman s War those. Review of Inman s War, he learned of the letters and the letters are used to create an. book in progress asked if he could Inman s War A Soldier s Story of autobiographical narrative that tells. write the introduction Copeland Life in a Colored Battalion in an important story of what some. traveled to several repositories of WWII By Jeffrey S Copeland St have called America s Greatest. military archives only to learn that Paul MN Paragon House 2006 Generation a story that now has a. he was the first person since 1945 366 pp Paperback 17 95 rainbow hue. THE ALAN REVIEW Fall 2007,d16 24 TAR Fall07 17 10 2 07 3 02 PM. Inman Perkins tale could have the rescue of some villagers trapped. been one of limitations of having He persevered as a leader in a bombed building It s a tricky. to teach only African American task putting his men at great risk. students themselves restricted to a of soldiers she continued He must commandeer building. segregated high school having to supplies and improvise a structural. marry Olivia in secret because at, as a teacher of some support that allows his men to.
that time in that school district remarkable students climb through the teetering rubble. married women were not allowed past an unexploded bomb and. to continue their careers as educa including Arthur Ashe bring the survivors to safety. tors of having to serve in what was Instead of killing Germans Inman s. formally named as a colored Tina Turner Chuck Berry battalion saves Italians Needless to. battalion other battalions were and Dick Gregory the last say they are hailed as heroes. colored too but their color was With full respect for Inman. white and having to discover the of whom has honored her Perkins story Jeffrey S Copeland. racial attitudes of the American effectively channels himself as. South after being raised in middle with an introduction to the teacher sergeant s voice taking. class circumstances in Des Moines letters and developing them into a. this volume, Iowa Thankfully neither Inman coherent compelling story That. nor Olivia let themselves be many of them were love letters. hamstrung by these obstacles He does not detract in the least. persevered as a leader of soldiers expectations Because both Inman Instead it gives the story its fullest. she continued as a teacher of some in the service and Olivia in high dimension Inman loved Olivia and. remarkable students including school are devoting themselves to she him He loved his men and. Arthur Ashe Tina Turner Chuck informing and inspiring others they him And whether at war or in. Berry and Dick Gregory the last of their leadership makes issues of the the classroom Mr and Mrs Perkins. whom has honored her with an day all the more critical Inman for loved their country making it better. introduction to this volume example has to teach men how to by everything they did. Succeeding against the odds has drive Army vehicles and some of. become popular lore for the these men have never sat in the. What Jerome Klinkowitz means by, attractiveness of their generation front seat of a car He stands up for. using the term channeling can be, and the materials of Inman s War them when custom would restrict. seen by considering the Inman, substantiate the claim people of their Rest Relaxation time to the. Perkins letter in Figure 1, this era make for our sympathy and base and its environs instead of the.
Copeland s notes on the letter and,admiration more exciting prospects of some. a quote from the book that is, Because the materials of Inman time off in Mexico He guides them. connected to the letter and the, Perkins letters have been woven through minefields some laid by. into such an appealing story Germans other metaphorically. Here we see Copeland making, readers can get a true sense of what but no less real in their effect by. notes to create the first person, life was like for a pair of two still racial custom in our own military.
narrative out of the letters, relatively young people in the years That Inman led men in a Signal. just before and during World War Construction Battalion proves Notes Letter June 8 1943. II life not just from an African significant His unit endured all the 1 First of all Inman talks in this. American perspective but from risks of combat forces yet with a letter about the Special Ser. viewpoint of people born into a different mission not to destroy but vices organization set up for all. world on the threshold of great to build They supported troops things related to recreation and. even monumental change an era but also civilians One of the book s athletics at Ft Bliss in El Paso. in other words somewhat like our most impressive episodes comes Texas He was actually elected. own time of millennial fears and near the end when Inman directs President representative of his. THE ALAN REVIEW Fall 2007,d16 24 TAR Fall07 18 10 2 07 3 02 PM. THE ALAN REVIEW Fall 2007,d16 24 TAR Fall07 19 10 2 07 3 02 PM. segment of the council repre lation size and card tables and chairs. that didn t collapse when leaned on, senting the 449th What he did This became a running or sat in The Club also had a jukebox. not know at the time he wrote,stuffed with the latest Glen Miller and.
this letter was that while he was joke between Inman and Benny Goodman records and a large. allowed to be part of the overall dance floor right next to it We. council recreation and athletics, Olivia in their letters had our own recreation area in the. were still to remain segregated barracks and had converted part of the. because the 449th never motor pool into our own version of a. on the base A little over a,Service Club but it wasn t even close. month later he wrote Olivia got a movie projector to being in the same league as the base. about his surprise in discovering club For the men the base club was. this fact In other words he was through normal channels like entering the gates of Shangri La. invited to the table but he Colonel Ellis had stuttered and. It was just one of many stammered that first week we came to. wasn t invited to eat,camp when he explained to me that. 2 He also talks here about a movie promises made to the our battalion the only colored battal. projector that was supposed to ion on the base would be allowed to. be given to his outfit This 449th that never material use the club only on Thursday eve. became a running joke between nings I asked it all of the other groups. ized Eventually his friend on the base had special nights as well. Inman and Olivia in their letters,His response was Well others use. because the 449th never got one Williams had to go to the the club the rest of the time. through normal channels It was I was sorting files at the time and. just one of many promises made other side of the base to pretended not to hear him Without. to the 449th that never material looking up I said I m sorry Sir I was. borrow one looking for something and missed,ized Eventually his friend.
Williams had to go to the other what you were saying So other. Sumner High School in St Louis groups on the base have their own. side of the base to borrow one,Missouri where he had taught special nights too. 3 In this letter Inman talks about Sort of They all that is. the new U S O club what before the war Unfortunately the. it s used by he said struggling, Inman s battalion called the day did not coincide with his for words and chopping sentences in. Service Club Although he says leave so those at Sumner held it two Finally he just blurted out Well. in this letter he doubted a rumor without him present Olivia said it s restrict and he minute he. a few words on his behalf said it I saw out of the corner of my. from another sergeant that eye his eyes widen as he realized what. Inman would be giving a talk at The voice of Inman Perkins telling. he had started to say He quickly, the dedication he did end up his own story in the text is amazing shouted out louder than he probably. doing exactly that However as we see on page 234 of Inman s meant to I mean it s reserved the rest. after all the pomp and circum War This scene takes place in the of the week. office of the white colonel in charge He paused a minute taking his. stance surrounding the dedica, of the colored battalion where glasses off to wipe them with his hand. tion died down Inman s battal kerchief and added softly Our bat. ion was allowed the use of the Inman a master sergeant spends. talion gets to use it Thursday nights, facility just one night per week some of his time as an administra OK.
This limited use eventually led tive assistant If you say so Sir was all I could. think of to say I understood perfectly, to one of the major conflicts The most anticipated night of the week. what he meant Perfectly, between the men of the 449th was Thursday night Thursday night. and others on the base de was our one and only night to use the Inman s War reads like a novel but. base Service Club The Service, scribed in the book it is more and less than a novel It. Club was popular with the men be, 4 The Red Letter Day he is cause it had brand new pool tables. is A Soldier s Story of Life in a, talking about in the letter was with smooth felt Ping Pong tables that Colored Battalion in WWII.
Inman Perkins Day at Charles were level shuffleboard tables of regu. THE ALAN REVIEW Fall 2007,d16 24 TAR Fall07 20 10 2 07 3 02 PM. Chasing Ghosts African segregated Colored Battalion His Perkins experiences Along the. American Contributions in letters described and detailed way the ghosts started to take. World War II everything from life in a crowded form finally started to achieve flesh. army barracks to the particulars of and bones It became more and. the play The Diary of Anne Frank found in many middle school literature anthologies More recently I have seen how effective both middle school and high school librarians and English teachers have become in spreading the word to their social studies colleagues about the value of their students reading book length fiction and nonfiction texts especially texts about WWII This time I am

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