The Soldiers Speak

Disillusionment in the ranks

Patrick Mason, Twenty-fourth Infantry, Corregidor, Philippine Islands, November 19, 1899, from The Gazette (Cleveland), September 29, 1900. Mason's brief letter reveals the ideological difficulties of a black American soldier in the Philippines for the purpose of taking up the "white man's burden."

Editor, Gazette.
Dear Sir:

I have not had any fighting to do since I have been here and don't care to do any. I feel sorry for these people and all that have come under the control of the United States. I don't believe they will be justly dealt by. The first thing in the morning is the "Nigger" and the last thing at night is the "Nigger." You have no idea the way these people are treated by the Americans here. I know their feeling toward them [Filipinos], as they speak their opinion in my presence thinking I am white. I love to hear them [white Americans] talk that I may know how they feel. The poor whites don't believe that anyone has any right to live but the white American, or to enjoy any rights or privileges that the white man enjoys. I must stop. You are right in your opinions.1 I must not say much as I am a soldier. The natives are a patient, burden­ bearing people.

Patrick Mason
Sgt., Co. I, 24th Infantry

1 In its editorials, the Cleveland Gazette took a strong stand against American annexation of the Philippines and suggested that under American rule the Filipinos would receive the same treatment accorded Negroes in the United States.

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A Young Soldier seeks an opportunity to prove himself

Black Americans and native Filipinos discover "an affinity of complexion"

On the battlefield

Rape of a Filipino woman

Disillusionment in the ranks

A black soldier decries expansionism