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Gary Younge
‘We Return Fighting’
The ambivalence many Black soldiers felt toward the United States during World War II was matched only by the ambivalence the United States demonstrated toward the principles on which the war was fought.In the summer of 1944 First Sergeant Jefferson Wiggins was just outside the French town of St.-Lô, on his way to help liberate the Netherlands, when a woman offered him a bottle of calvados. “You don’t understand how it is to have your freedom, to lose it and then to regain it,” she told him. Wiggins, an African American soldier from Dothan, Alabama, was in his late teens. He did not speak French. But as he later told the Dutch historian Mieke Kirkels for her self-published book From Alabama to Margraten (2014), he had wanted to reply:
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