The Library of Congress Veterans History Project Home 
Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
Home » Search Results » Isaiah A. McCoy, Jr.

"Whenever one of us got a command in World War II, it was because they ran out of white guys to command the units." (Audio interview, Part 4, 23:50)

   Isaiah A. McCoy, Jr.
Image of Isaiah A. McCoy, Jr.
War: World War II, 1939-1946; Korean War, 1950-1955
Branch: Army
Unit: 93rd Infantry Division
Service Location: United States; Pacific Theater; also: Korea
Rank: Colonel; Colonel
Place of Birth: Norwalk, CT
View Full Description

Drafted six months before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Isaiah McCoy was determined not to allow racism impede his ambitions to become an Army officer. He had grown up in Connecticut and was shocked at how casual and institutionalized prejudice was in the many bases in the South. A second stint in the Army took him to Korea for that war, and he found conditions for black soldiers had improved remarkably. Although he fell short of his ambition to become a general, McCoy is happy to have paved the way for other members of his race to aspire to that goal.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview  (239 min.)
»Photo Album (1 photo)
 Other Materials
»View List (4 items)
More like this
»AAHM: Pioneers
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Dealing with racial prejudice; identified as a northerner who didn't know his place; black soldiers who would take orders only from white commanders. (06:38) One of three black men in his class at Officers Candidate School; a memorable train ride in Jim Crow car; black officers not allowed to command white troops. (07:55) In command of a unit on an island in the South Pacific; boredom of little activity; his disillusionment with army; improved conditions on his return to service. (04:24)
Differences between young black soldiers he met in WWII and during his second hitch. (05:30) Better conditions for blacks in the 1950s Army. (01:33) Assessing his military career; the importance of having white friends. (03:44)
Family background: lone boy with six sisters, father was a minister who moved around a lot; making the adjustment to living in the South. (06:41)  
 Other Materials (4 items)
Military History of Colonel Isaiah Mccoy Awards and decorations Handwritten military history of Isaiah Mccoy
Pamphlett, 18th Annual OCS Alumni Reunion Banquet and Induction Ceremony  
Home » Search Results » Isaiah A. McCoy, Jr.
  The Library of Congress
  May 29, 2007
Veterans History Project Home
Contact Us