Prior to the Vietnam War, struggles for Black equality were deeply intertwined with conceptions of national belonging, masculinity, and military service, epitomized by the Double V campaign of World War II. The persistence of inequalities, however, despite the legislative victories of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War’s integrated military, opened the door to a new cultural model that defined manhood and national belonging in oppositional and racial terms. Given the far reach of the Selective Service, draft resistance as a new masculine standard engaged young Black men in Black Power rhetoric, culture, and ideas, regardless of their active, or even knowing, involvement in the contemporary Black freedom struggle. Draft resistance during the Vietnam years became a key organizing tool and a critical site for movement. Resisting the draft became an important way to support the larger struggle for Black liberation. Furthermore, the relationship between draft resistance and Black masculinity illuminates the reach and impact of the Black Power movement.

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