Academic Historian

Robert F. Jefferson, Jr. is an Associate Professor of History and the Director of the Africana Studies Program and at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Jefferson earned his doctorate in African American History from the University of Michigan.  His research focuses on the relationship between race, gender, and citizenship in Twentieth Century United States history.  He is the author of Fighting for Hope: African Americans and the Ninety-third Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) which was nominated for the William Colby Book Prize and is currently working on a second book titled Color and Disability:  The Many Lives of Vasco Hale in Twentieth Century America. He has written extensively on the relationship between African American GIs and their communities during the Second World War, the Black Panther Party, and the lived experiences of Black Disabled Veterans in the twentieth century.  He has also written articles that have appeared in Oral History and Public Memories (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008), the Journal of Family History, the Annals of Iowa, Quaderni Storici (Bologna), Contours:  A Journal of the African Diaspora, and the Historian.  He also holds memberships in the American Historical Association, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the National Council of Black Studies, the Society of Military History, the Western History Association, the Social Science History Association, and is a participating speaker in the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program.

Vasco De Gama Hale (1915-2002)

Vasco De Gama Hale, educator, blinded veterans’ association organizer, and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) official, was born in Crawford, Mississippi, to Brotop and Jane Hale on February 16, 1915. His father, Brotop, toiled as a sharecropper for a short time … Read MoreVasco De Gama Hale (1915-2002)

32nd and 33rd WAACS Headquarters Companies (World War II)

Organized in the fall of 1942 in Iowa, the all-black Thirty-Second and Thirty-third Women’s Auxiliary Army Companies would become the first contingent of WAACS assigned to a military installation in the United States during World War II. Composed of nearly 200 auxiliaries and seven officers, … Read More32nd and 33rd WAACS Headquarters Companies (World War II)

Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz (1911-2007)

Irma Jackson Cayton Wertz was a member of the first Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACS) Officer training class commissioned at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, during World War II.  Born in Brunswick, Georgia, on May 8, 1911, Jackson was the product of a military household.  Her … Read MoreIrma Jackson Cayton Wertz (1911-2007)

93rd Infantry Division (1942-1946)

Activated on May 15, 1942, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, the U.S. Ninety-third Infantry Division was the first segregated division-size infantry unit mobilized during the Second World War.  Composed of White general staff officers and African American junior officers and enlisted men, the Ninety-third was made … Read More93rd Infantry Division (1942-1946)