Jun 24, 1943 – Jun 25, 1943
On this day (24th June) in 1943, black American soldiers faced off with white American Military police during World War II on British soil. Yes, you read correctly black American soldiers had to fight their own white American soldiers, while in England, where they were fighting for the world.
Why? Because the English town of Bamber Bridge in Lancashire was not segregated so they treated the black soldiers like all other races, aka blacks were free to eat, drink anywhere, BUT back in America segregation of blacks and whites still existed. So essentially the American army went to someone else’s country and demanded they adopted America’s racist practices
So when the American Military police found out that their own black American soldiers were drinking at the same pubs as white people they went in to arrest them. The people in the town got mad about the treatment of the black soldiers and decided to then turn their pubs into “BLACKS ONLY DRINKING PUBS” the very opposite of what was taking place in America with their WHITES ONLY businesses.
Of course this pissed off the American military so guns went blazing, and when word spread back at camp that black soldiers had been shot, scores of men formed a crowd, some carrying rifles and by midnight more American military police arrived with a machine gun-equipped vehicle, so the black soldiers had no choice but to get rifles from British stores while others barricaded themselves back on base, so now it was American white soldiers versus American black soldiers. This led to the death of one solider, injury of 7, and 32 convictions.
Back in America the battle was hushed up because they didn’t want the country to find out that they were fighting their own soldiers which would anger the black population and weaken the morale in the country.
You may read about the ill treatment of black American soldiers by their own army in the book FORGOTTEN.
Credit to Irin Hart