Black Men and the Draft

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Black organizers continued to press for increased civil rights and equality throughout the United States.

Until 1969, the United States maintained its peacetime draft—not the lottery that dominated the 1970s, but thousands of men going through local Selective Service boards to determine who would be drafted to serve in the military.

As this piece demonstrates, the Selective Service boards had significant leeway over which men should be drafted. Since Selective Service boards in some states remained segregated, Black Americans frequently did not have representation to argue over a candidate’s selection. The overrepresentation of African Americans in the draft, along with increasing anticolonial movements, led to the growing intersection of antiwar and civil rights movements.
Cleveland Sellers
Grade Level

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