By Tanya Lee Stone
Candlewick Press. 2013
Grades 8 and up
I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library.
Prejudice is a flaw of human nature, but awareness and education are powerful weapons against it, according to award winning nonfiction writer Tanya Lee Stone.
In Courage Has No Color, Stone examines the long history of racial discrimination in the US military through the history of the first black paratroopers, the 555th: The Triple Nickles. Though very well-trained, the 555th never saw active combat, yet their perseverance and hard work paved the way for those who came after. Despite facing negative attitudes and prejudice,
Why would a black man risk his life to help his country? The answer was simple. This is my country, my children’s country, and their children’s. It is up to me and many, many people of all races and cultures to fight the haters and racists to make this a better place to live, said Walter Morris, a leader in forming the Triple Nickles. Morris retired from the military in 1946.
The book is well-researched using primary and secondary sources, as well as interviews with the remaining Triple Nickles. According to the author’s note, Stone admits this was, perhaps my hardest book to write to date. Much of the Triple Nickles story was scattered in obscure places through the decades. It took several years to sift through all the information to tell the 555's story. Readers will find the writing engaging with the story unfolding in chronological order. Black and white photos are spread throughout, making the reading experience even better with visual tie-ins. Back matter includes author’s note, appendix of key players in the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, timeline of desegregation and the Triple Nickles, source notes, and index.
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A thought-provoking read on a timely subject.