Featured Scholar: Jason Goley

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Featured Scholar: Jason Goley
Watson, Sara
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Featured Scholar:
Jason Goley

2000 - 2001 University Scholar
Mentor: W. Fitzhugh Brundage
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

When Jason Goley began investigating the history of race relations and war in the United
States, he soon realized he was treading in unexplored territory. Jason, a history major,
first thought about researching the topic of war after he saw Saving Private Ryan a few
years ago. "When I left the theater, I was not concerned with tactics, strategy or foreign
policy. Rather, my interest was in the personal experiences of the men who fought,
suffered, and died." Jason soon decided to focus his research on the racial integration of
the military during the Korean War. He felt the Korean War never captured the
imagination of Americans and has since faded from the nation's collective memory. "The
tragedy of forgetting this war lies not only with the graves of the more than 30,000
Americans who died, but with our failure to properly acknowledge one of America's major
milestones in race relations."

Jason spent the first part of his life in Great Falls, Montana and then moved with his
family to Sarasota, Florida. His father graduated from UF with a journalism degree, and
when it was time for Jason to decide where to go to college, UF was his first choice. "I
started off as a physical therapy major, and then one day as I was walking around
campus, I had an epiphany. I realized I would rather be happy than make a lot of
money." Jason changed his major to history and thought about becoming a high school
history teacher.

After taking a seminar on civil rights, Jason's interest in race relations during the 20th
century started to grow. He approached his history professor, Fitz Brundage, about
working on a research project for the University Scholars Program. "I've always had a
problem with racism and understanding why people act the way they do towards others
who are different from them." Jason chose to research African American veterans of the
Korean War. "Not only was the military the first major American government institution
to integrate, but it did so during some of the bloodiest battles of the twentieth century,"
says Jason. "Dr. Brundage and I agreed that I should concentrate on the experiences of
African American soldiers, as they were the focus of integrating the military. We further
decided that I should seek out and interview as many such veterans as possible. These
oral history interviews would be the essential foundation of my research."

After hundreds of phone calls, emails, and challenges along the way, Jason finally had
the honor of interviewing some of America's unsung heroes. He found five veterans who
were willing to share their personal recollections of the war. Jason incorporated their
responses into his research paper, and the veterans' interview transcripts are now part of
the Oral History Program's collection at UF. The Department of Defense in Washington,
DC recently contacted Jason about compiling his research findings so the facts can be
presented at a ceremony honoring African American Korean War Veterans at Arlington
National Cemetery in July.

Jason will graduate in May 2001 and plans to pursue graduate studies in history. He
hopes to continue his research on civil rights issues and one day teach at the university
level. His mentor , Dr. Brundage, describes Jason as a student who kept researching until
he found what he was looking for. "Jason has displayed laudable perseverance and
creativity in tracking down veterans and recording their experiences. Neither of us had
any idea of just how 'forgotten' the black veterans of the Korean War really are." Jason
says he would like to write a book about the Korean War to set the record straight.
"These men put their lives on the line for America ae not America as it was, but for
America as it should be, as they knew it could be. These men are true American heroes,
and need to be recognized as such."


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