The Proving Ground

“The Proving Grounds.” In the late 1960s, two young Black men from Alabama’s Hill Country were drawn the Vietnam war. One, J.D., a civil rights foot soldier, and the son of a Black Baptist minister from a steel town, trained in chemicals, combat, and the culinary arts before he eventually became a first cook at Blackhorse Base Camp in southern Vietnam. The other, Hollis, from a small family farm, some 30 minutes away, became a Marine and engaged in some of the fiercest fighting of the war near Quảng Trị in central Vietnam. This experimental project will examine the unique experience and epistemology of these soldiers, born to working-class Black families in northern Alabama.