Professor of History and Director of the Center for Public and Oral History, San Diego State University

Author: dpcline (Page 1 of 2)

Community History is Public History: Cline Elected President of Congress of History

In July 2023, David P. Cline was elected President of the Congress of History of San Diego and Imperial Counties as it embarks on a one-year process of self-assessment and potential re-growth. Founded in 1966, the Congress is a networking organization that brings together representatives of organizations, groups, museums, archives, and individuals that strive to preserve, educate about, honor, and interpret regional history in California’s San Diego and Imperial Counties. Most years, the Congress produces a conference on local and regional hsitory.

Latest Reviews of Twice Forgotten!

“In this exceptionally researched volume, Cline shows that the act of desegregating was far more complicated than expected…Readers will appreciate the wide variety of voices represented, including various military branches as well as officers and enlisted men and women from different regions of the United States…This is an essential, insightful read on an often-overlooked subject, for those interested in military history and African American history.”
Library Journal [Starred Review]

“As the first comprehensive oral history of the African American experience in the Korean War, Twice Forgotten is an important contribution to Korean War history, military history, and African American history. By foregrounding the African American war experience, I expect it will prove as significant to Korean War history as Wallace Terry’s oral history Bloods was for the Vietnam War. By framing the Korean War as both a critical battle in the Civil Rights Movement …and an experience that forged the identity of a generation of future civil rights activists, Cline makes a convincing case for centering the experience of African Americans who served in the Korean War into the historical memory.” –Diplomatic History 

“Cline has made a major contribution not only to military history but also to the history of the American civil rights movement.” –The Journal of American History

“[An] immersive history [of] first-person accounts of Black soldiers. Richly detailed and thoughtfully presented, this is a treasure chest of insight into the Black military experience.”
–Publishers Weekly

“An impressive oral history of African American soldiers in the Korean War and the impact that these returning veterans had on the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement in the US. Drawing from a wealth of primary and secondary sources, including a plethora of oral histories conducted by the author, Cline highlights the nexus between the larger Cold War and the local battles against Jim Crow on the home front . . . .highly recommended.” —CHOICE (American Library Association)

“This comprehensive account of Black service in Korea makes an invaluable contribution to American military historiography and scholarship on the civil rights movement.”—Journal of Southern History

“Impeccably researched, the book does justice to its subject matter.” —Southwestern Historical Quarterly

“This is a majestic work, rigorously researched and compellingly argued. The first-person narratives of African American service members are nothing less than epic stories of struggle and survival, where the battle begins long before one even steps foot on the battlefield. Arriving at a time when military service, racial equity, and national security are once again part of the national debate, Cline’s book deserves a broad audience.”
–Paul Ortiz, author of An African American and Latinx History of the United States

“An outstanding and necessary book, Twice Forgotten makes a compelling argument for the Korean War as central to the mid-century civil rights movement. Lovely and clear, devastating and bracing, the book’s oral histories capture the perennial dilemma of Black soldiers fighting for a democracy denied them and the fearsome determination of those committed to change. Cline’s work offers a model for deep, compassionate, and righteous listening.”
–Adriane Lentz-Smith, author of Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I

“Drawing upon extensive archival and oral history research, this book offers a nuanced view of desegregation in the military, a deep examination of the Korean War experience from the African American perspective and, finally, a connection between the experiences of African American veterans and elements of the civil rights movement in the United States that both preceded and followed the Korean War. This is an ambitious undertaking and yet also an easy and enjoyable read. It offers a rich view of a topic in tremendous need of exactly this kind of comprehensive examination.”
–Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries

Twice Forgotten: AFRICAN AMERICANS and the KOREAN WAR, An Oral History

Book Release

December 17, 2021. A collection of seventy oral histories, drawn from across the country, which examines the conflict as experienced by the approximately 600,000 Black men and women who served. It also includes narratives from other sources, including the Library of Congress’s visionary Veterans History Project. In their own voices, soldiers and sailors and flyers tell the story of what it meant, how it felt, and what it cost them to fight for the freedom abroad that was too often denied them at home.

Organizing for Racial Justice, 1960s and Today


May 2-3, 2017, New York City. I’ll be giving a keynote, Rev. James Forbes (former pastor of Riverside Church) will give the introductory comments, and Charles and Shirley Sherrod will be presented with the Union Seminary medal. Students and faculty at UTS have also been holding a weekly guided reading session of my book throughout the semester. But the best part, is that the day will also be the first ever reunion of the SIM activists! Please come out if you can!

From Reconciliation to Revolution

Book Release

April 23, 2017, Christiansburg, VA. I’ll be the featured speaker for the Annual Meeting of the Friends of the Library at the Christiansburg Public Library. I’ll be speaking about my book From Reconciliation to Revolution  starting at 3 p.m. Hope to see you there. Copies of the book (University of North Carolina Press, 2016) will be available.

Here are some recent mentions of From Reconciliation to Revolution:

Journal of Southern Religion

Law and Religion Forum

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