Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels

• Diversity related title
• Age Range: Grades 6th-Adult
• Author: Tanya Lee Stone
• Title: Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickels
• Publisher: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press
• 2013
• 148 pages.
• ISBN: 978-0-7636-5117-6
• Awards: YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist~NAACP Image Award Nominee in Literature~Orbis Pictus Honor Book~Publishers Weekly Best Books 2013~Kirkus Best Books of 2013~Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) Choices 2014~2014 Texas Tayshas Reading List~TOP TEN ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2014~ALSC 2014 Notables Children’s Book AND ALSC 2014 Notables Children’s Recording~YALSA Amazing Audio Pick~Washington Post’s Best New Reads of 2013~Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 2013 Blue Ribbon List~BuzzFeed’s 20 Best Children’s Books of 2013~NYPL’s 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing~Booklist Editor’s Choice & Booklist’s 2013 “Lasting Connections”~Best Multicultural Books of 2013 (Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature)~A Parents’ Choice Award Recommended Title
• Author’s website:

During World War II America fought the world’s worst racist with a racially segregated army. Stone tells the fascinating and little known story of the first black paratrooper unit: the Triple Nickels, and their efforts to win a measure of acceptance and an opportunity to fight for their nation, even if it wasn’t ready to fight for them.

Stone crafts a handsome, moving and important account of a wrongly overlooked piece of American history. Using myriad primary sources and many historic photographs she brings to life the racism and segregation prevalent in the military and society at large, and shows how black service men survived the slights and violence, overcoming oppression and proving they merited a full measure of equality. As paratrooper Clarence Beaver said, “We wanted to be a full partner within the war. We did not want to go through the war saying ‘I washed the dishes.”

Trying to keep up the morale of his troops First Sergeant Walter Morris sought to “wipe out the idea that black men weren’t good enough or smart enough to jump out of airplanes. He wanted his soldiers to know that they were as up to the task as anyone else.” His efforts to train his soldiers, even before there was any place in the army for black paratroopers, placed him and his men in the right place at the right time. When the Triple Nickels were formed they were the first in line and Morris was served as first sergeant.

Not only does Stone reveal heroic deeds and fascinating characters, she brings to light one of the best kept secrets of World War II: Japanese balloon bombs that targeted the Pacific coast. This is a thorough, well-documented history full of unforgettable anecdotes, perfect for anyone interested in World War II, civil rights, American history or stories of courage and perseverance.
“Morris experienced the sting of seeing German and Italian prisoners of war buying cigarettes and candy at the post exchange. ‘Those men,’ he later recalled, ‘prisoners who killed American soldiers…[could] buy cigarettes or whatever they wanted to, but we…couldn’t go into the post exchange.’ …We’re in uniform, but we’re not good enough to sit at the table with the prisoners of war!’”

In extensive back matter Stone describes the story behind the story, describing her motivations, research techniques and philosophy. An appendix lists the test platoon and first six officers followed by a timeline of desegregation and the Triple Nickels. Detailed source notes, an extensive and varied bibliography and photography credits leave no doubt as to where information was obtained. An extensive index and acknowledgements conclude this handsomely produced and scrupulously researched addition to American history.


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