Alumni Alumni in the News In the News

September 12, 2017 at 10:26 am

History Alumni Publishes in New York Times, Teaches History at Community College

Ohio University alum Gerald Goodwin ’14Ph.D. recently published “Black and White in Vietnam” in the New York Times. The opinion piece draws on his ongoing research, part of which was completed as his 2014 doctoral dissertation, “Race in the Crucible of War: African American Soldiers and Race Relations in the ‘Nam,’” completed under the supervision of Dr. Chester Pach, Associate Professor of History.

Goodwin earned a Ph.D. in History and a Certificate in Contemporary History from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University.

Goodwin’s opinion piece focuses on the experiences of African American soldiers in Vietnam, specifically exploring their experiences with racial issues. Goodwin asserts that, “while many African American soldiers had positive interactions with white soldiers in combat, especially when compared to the deteriorating racial situation in the United States, this was only one part of the black experience in Vietnam.” He argues that “black soldiers complained with significant justification that they were disproportionately assigned menial duties, denied promotion to the rank they deserved, and unfairly targeted for punishment.”

He notes how, statistically during the first years of the conflict, black soldiers were disproportionately drafted, sent into combat, and killed in Vietnam. Goodwin also characterizes this discrimination as “undoubtedly contributing” to the widespread outbreak of racial violence in the aftermath of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968. “Between 1968 and 1971, incidents of racial violence were reported in and around U.S. military bases throughout Vietnam,” he said.

The NYT piece is one of several publications by Goodwin. Between 2015 and 2017, he wrote numerous essays for five university-level history textbooks released by Salem Press and Grey House Publishing. In June 2017, World History Connected published Goodwin’s article “’You and me—same same’ and ‘They called me ‘monkey’’: Conflicting African American Views of Vietnamese Civilians.”

This past summer, Goodwin moved to Syracuse, NY, to begin teaching U.S. history at Onodaga Community College — State University of New York (SUNY). Between graduating from Ohio University and making this move, he taught U.S. history, world history, and U.S. government courses at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg, IN, and then Bloomington, IN.

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