No Longer Neutral

By Joshua Kors ’01E

On my wall I keep a framed photo of Army Specialist Jon Town. He is out of uniform, wearing a gray suit and crimson tie, yet he is standing at attention, a look of determination in his eyes. The photo was taken in the halls of the U.S. Capitol on July 25, 2007, the day Town and I testified before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

Meditations on War and Circumstance

By Jacob Worrell ’12E

It was raining. People are often surprised to hear that it rains in Iraq. When people imagine the daily discomforts of soldiers deployed in Iraq, they think about facing imminent death, frying in the desert sun and the dull monotony of daily routine. Anything but rain. But in northern Iraq in 2005, for roughly three months between mid-December and March, it seemed to rain every other day—not refreshing summer drizzles either, but ice-cold buckets.

Work in Progress

By William Sweet

150210130

A self-described “military brat,” Khary Polk spent much of his childhood as an African-American living abroad. That experience, says the Robert E. Keiter 1957 Postdoctoral Fellow and visiting assistant professor of black studies, is helping to inform his current research on the role of black soldiers in the civil rights movement.

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A Cannon for the Confederacy: The Legacy of Frazar Stearns

Submitted on Thursday, 3/15/2012, at 3:28 PM

By William Sweet

A century and a half ago, a member of the Amherst College Class of 1863 followed his chemistry professor into this country’s bloodiest conflict and returned in a coffin. After the body of Frazar Stearns—the son of the college’s fourth president, William Augustus Stearns—came back to Amherst, so did a cannon that he had helped reclaim from Confederate forces. It was a pale substitute for a 21-year-old with a promising future, but the “Amherst Cannon” would become a boon for historians.

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The Impact of Black Soldiers and Amherst College on the Civil Rights Movement

Submitted on Thursday, 3/1/2012, at 10:51 AM

Khary Polk, the Robert E. Keiter 1957 Postdoctoral Fellow and visiting assistant professor of black studies at Amherst completed his doctoral dissertation on the African-American soldier at New York University last summer and is currently adapting the dissertation into book form. We recently spoke with Polk about the upcoming work, which he said will examine “how discourses of race and sexuality intersected within the figure of the African American soldier in the 20th century, and how black soldiers, in particular, found senses of embattled agency through their military travels outside of the United States.”

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