In the era surrounding the Vietnam War there was a lot of controversy about African Americans. During this time, African Americans were separated in their opinions of the war. Many African Americans were willing to fight and die for their country, while others would do anything to avoid being sent to a war that they felt they had no right fighting. In the book "fighting on two fronts," by James E. Westheider, it depicts this struggle. .
In the first chapter it reviews the stance of many African Americans. Many of them wanted to advance themselves economically and socially. They figured that war would be a good way to earn themselves the respect that they desired. Another base of desire for blacks to join the war effort in Vietnam was that they were, for the first time, treated as equals. The contributions of African Americans in Vietnam were recognized and appreciated, even though they were often sent to the front in place of their white brothers in arms. With less than ten percent of American military force in Vietnam being African Americans there was a surprising number of African Americans that were put on the front lines in the thick of the fighting. Of all American combat units that were used in heavy action, nearly twenty percent were black. Of course not all African Americans were eager to go to war. .
With a little over twenty five percent of African Americans opposing the war there was a firm resistance. This group avoided the war and claimed themselves conscientious objectors, most notably Muhhamid Ali. Since draft dodging was considered a crime most black Muslims that refused to fight were sentenced to prison. This was in spite of the fact that other anti violent people like the Quakers and Amish people were granted conscientious objector status with no questions asked. A lot of Blacks did not want to fight for a country that treated them as third class citizens, and refused them civil rights.