Choice Edwards: The Battle of Bamber Bridge

Choice Edwards Guest columnist

Here is more history you were never taught in school but should have been: The Battle of Bamber Bridge, June 24-25, 1943. Seventy-nine years ago last week, American soldiers of African ancestry faced off with white American military police during World War II on British soil. Yes, you read that correctly, Black American soldiers, while in England fighting to save the world, had to fight white American soldiers!

Why? Because the English town of Bamber Bridge in Lancashire was not segregated, so they treated the Black soldiers like all other soldiers; all were free to eat and drink anywhere. Unfortunately, back in America, segregation of Blacks and whites still existed. So, essentially, the American army went to another country and demanded they adopt America’s racist practices!

So, when the American military police found out that Black soldiers were drinking at the same pubs as white people, they went in to arrest them for being out of class “A” uniform. The townspeople got angry about the treatment of the Black soldiers and decided to turn their pubs into “blacks only drinking pubs” — the very opposite of what was taking place in “Freedom, America” with “whites only” businesses.

White soldiers retaliated with guns, so the Black soldiers had no choice but to arm themselves. So, now it was American white soldiers versus American Black soldiers. The battle continued at base camp. This battle led to the death of one soldier and injury to seven.

Back in America, news of the battle was silenced. They didn’t want the country to find out that there was fighting among our own soldiers. That would further anger the Black population following the Detroit race riot a few days before. You may read about the ill treatment of Black American soldiers by their own army in the book “Forgotten.” 

The purpose of education is to know stuff. I trust I am educating you; former president and coup instigator Donald Trump has said, “I like the uneducated.”

Which brings me to this teachable moment: according to Wikipedia, “Critical race theory (CRT) is a body of legal scholarship and an academic movement of civil-rights scholars and activists in the United States that seeks to critically examine U.S. law as it intersects with issues of race in the U.S.A. and to challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice.”

CRT examines social, cultural and legal issues primarily as they relate to race and racism in the United States. Critical race theorists do not all share the same beliefs; however, the basic tenets of CRT include that racism and disparate racial outcomes are the result of complex, changing and often subtle social and institutional dynamics. It is systemic and institutionalized rather than explicit and intentional prejudices on the part of individuals.

CRT scholars also view race and white supremacy as an intersectional social construction that serves to uphold the interests of white people over those of marginalized communities at large. CRT is not, nor has it ever been, taught below the university curriculum level.

I certainly don’t know all of history, but I do know that the experiences of Americans of African ancestry and other ethnic minorities in our country and Lake County, especially before the Civil Rights Movement (a movement that has always existed but heightened in the 1960s), were horrific.

Perhaps a better term for CRT would be Complete Racial Truth: the good, the bad and the ugly. Airing our dirty laundry, tellin’ it like it is. Am I the only one who knows this stuff?

Telling the truth is as American as baseball and apple pie; it is to tell facts over lies. Only when the truth is told and accepted can those who were oppressed by those who oppressed apologize, accept apology and work together to become more united, more American.

Education may or may not be expensive, but if you think it expensive, try ignorance!


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