Black News, Entertainment, Style and Culture - HuffPost Black Voices
iOS app Android app More
January 29, 2015

McDonald's CEO Don Thompson Steps Down

Mcdonalds Ceo
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Court Clears Civil Rights Protesters Of Crimes 54 Years Later

Sitin Protests
Bruce Roberts via Getty Images

Details Emerge About CBS Sports Analyst's Prostitution Arrest

Greg Anthony Cbs
Lee Celano via Getty Images

Texas Sending Man to Death Chamber on Thursday Based on 'Of Mice and Men'

Robert Ladd Texas
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Loretta Lynch Says She Doesn't Support Marijuana Legalization

Loretta Lynch
Bill Clark via Getty Images

GOP Senator Says DOJ Challenge To His Voting Law Is A Waste Of Resources

Thom Tillis
Bill Clark via Getty Images

NFL Actually Considering Fining Marshawn Lynch Because Of This Cap

Marshawn Conference
YouTube

Open Letter to Young Black Hollywood: Ending Segregation

Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons

'Key & Peele' Give Us A Fresh Batch Of Ridiculous Football Player Names

Key And Peele Pro Bowl Names
Comedy Central

What Tahj Blow's Police Encounter Reveals About Student Activism in the #Blacklivesmatter Movement

Yale Campus Racism
ManuelHurtado via Getty Images

Obama's Pick For Attorney General Faces Heated Confirmation Debate

Loretta Lynch
SAUL LOEB via Getty Images

J. Cole Lays Out His Generous Plan For Single Mothers

J Cole
Tim Mosenfelder via Getty Images

Black Americans Are Four Times More Likely to Be Victims of Homicide

Police Car
Shutterstock

Marissa Alexander Released

Marissa Alexander
ASSOCIATED PRESS

'Black Lives Matter' Protesters Interrupt Capitol Hill Lunch

Capitol Protest
Christine Conetta/Huffington Post

Former UNC Athlete Says He's Suing School To Protect Athletes' Education

Devon Ramsay
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Grandma Busts A Move To 'DLow Shuffle,' Teaches The Kids A Thing Or Two

Grandma
Marvin Hunter/Facebook

Nzingha Stewart Talks Latest Film 'With This Ring'

Nzingha Stewart
Kasema Caines

Navigating Between a Parallel and a Real Universe

Homeless America
Spencer Platt via Getty Images

A Closer Look At Survivors Of Boko Haram Attacks Across Northern Nigeria

Boko Haram Attack
ASSOCIATED PRESS

All Women Of Color Interviewed In STEM Study Experienced Gender Bias

Black Woman Scientist
Gary Buss via Getty Images

Neil deGrasse Tyson Was Wrong, And He's Not Afraid To Admit It

Neil Degrasse
Cindy Ord via Getty Images

A Clear Timeline Of The Tamir Rice Shooting

Tamir Rice
ASSOCIATED PRESS

One View From the Black Middle Class

Black Male
Tara Moore via Getty Images

Steve Scalise To Meet With Civil Rights Leader

Steve Scalise
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Badass Woman Celebrates Her 40th By Marrying Herself

Yasmin Eleby
Yasmin Eleby/BallerAlert

A Blizzard Couldn't Stop These People From Helping Those In Need

Blizzard New York Homeless
John Moore via Getty Images

This Man Could Die Tonight Despite Being Labelled Intellectually Disabled

Warren Hill
ASSOCIATED PRESS

DC Plans to Invest $20M in Minority Male Students

Kaya Henderson
The Washington Post via Getty Images

These States Are Actually Considering Ways To Make Voting More Convenient

Husted
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mom Goes On Strike To Protest 'Out Of Control' Teen Daughters

Mom Strike
WFMY

Here's How Much Less Women Make In Each State

Expert Money
Expert Money

'Django Unchained' Actress Pleads Not Guilty To Lewd Conduct

Daniele Watts
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Yale Responds To Officer Holding Student At Gunpoint, Says It's Not Ferguson

Yale University
Peter Spiro via Getty Images

Marshawn Lynch's Finally Talks To The Media In Hilarious Skittles Ad

Skittles
YouTube

This Is What New York Looks Like Without All The People Thanks To Snowstorm Juno

New York City Snow
Alex Trautwig via Getty Images

All Jokes Aside, 'The Bachelor' Has A Diversity Issue

Saturday Night Live
.

The Powerful Message That Helped Condoleezza Rice Thrive Amid Racism In The '60s

Condoleezza Rice
OWN

90-Year-Old Kenyan Woman Goes To School, Learns To Read And Write Alongside Great-Great-Grandkids

Priscilla Sitienei
BBC

Black Lives Matter, So Do Our Voices

Voting
Comstock Images via Getty Images

3 Black Adoptees Speak Out About Life With White Parents

Biracial Family
Tetra Images via Getty Images

FOLLOW HUFFPOST

    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    1. HuffPost
    2. Black Voices
    3. View all RSS feeds

A Former Knick Just Said Some Stuff Every New Yorker Can Relate To

Jr Smith
ASSOCIATED PRESS

5 Kerry Washington Quotes That Prove She 'Handles It'

461364794
FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

David Oyelowo Defends Benedict Cumberbatch After 'Colored' Comment

David Oyelowo Benedict Cumberbatch
Dimitrios Kambouris via Getty Images

In Praise Of Women With Braids

Joy Bryant
Getty

Watch Ava DuVernay's Perfect Response To Her 'Selma' Oscar Snub

Ava Duvernay
Robin Marchant via Getty Images

Ludacris Wins Full Custody Of Daughter

Ludacris
mpi86/MediaPunch/IPx

How Wearing The Wrong Jewelry Can Get You Locked Up

Fashion Racism
Gawker

Gabrielle Union Says 'The World Isn't Going To End' If We See More Diversity In Women On TV

Gabrielle Union
Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

The Most Showstopping Super Bowl Halftime Outfits Of All-Time

Super Bowl Halftime Show
Getty

Sly Stone Wins Lawsuit

Sly Stone Music
Larry Busacca via Getty Images

Jill Scott On Why She Only Dates For Six Months

Jill Scott
Derick Hingle/Invision/AP

Mickey Guyton And The Trailblazing Black Women Of Country Music

Linda Martell
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

WATCH: 'This Is How We Do It'...At Buffalo Wild Wings?

Montell Jordan
YouTube

Benedict Cumberbatch Apologizes For Race Comments

Bendict Cumberbatch
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP

This Could Be The Next Shonda Rhimes Show

Shonda Rhimes
Jason LaVeris via Getty Images

Diana Ross Returns To Las Vegas With Mini-Residency

Diana Ross
Michael Tran via Getty Images

Watch A Sneak Peek Of The New 'How To Get Away With Murder'

Viola Davis How To Get Away With Murder
Mitch Haaseth via Getty Images

11 Habits Of Insanely Fashionable People

Streetstyle
Getty Images

Big Sean Reveals New Album Title

Big Sean
NBC via Getty Images

Kid Cudi Dishes On Making Out With A Dude

Kid Cudi
Joe Scarnici via Getty Images

Chrissy Teigen & John Legend Get Super Steamy For GQ

Chrissy Teigen John Legend
Anders Overgaard for GQ

Tracey Edmonds Opens Up On Staying Ahead As A Black Producer

Tracey Edmonds
Todd Williamson/Invision/AP

Former Backup Singer Declared As James Brown's Wife

James Brown
Michael Ochs Archives via Getty Images

Ava DuVernay's Passion Project

Ava Duvernay
Paras Griffin via Getty Images

Jon Stewart Was NOT Expecting This

Jon Stewart
Comedy Central

Kim And Kanye Get Matchy-Matchy In All-Black Balmain

Kim Kardashian Kanye West
Johnny Nunez via Getty Images

Viola Davis' Natural Hair Is Her Crowning Glory

Viola Davis Natural Hair
Lester Cohen via Getty Images

Muppets-Biz Markie Mashup Is Just What You Need

Muppets
YouTube

Rihanna Just Dropped A New Song With Kanye & Paul McCartney

Rihanna New Song
RihannaNow.com

Kanye Finally Explains Why He Doesn't Smile

186118297
Gabriel Olsen via Getty Images

How Sherri Shepherd Responds To Critics Who Said 'You Can't'

Own Ownshow Sherri Shepherd
OWN

First Black Female Prisoner of War Tells Harrowing Tale

Comments (484)


Much like the powerful images of Tuskegee airmen in full regalia sidled next to their planes during World War II, the image of Shoshana Johnson being escorted to safety after her captivity in Iraq is indelibly imprinted in the minds of television viewers across the world.

It was especially poignant for African Americans, who saw it as a fleeting moment of vindication for a time when blacks in the military were not acknowledged for their service.



Now, years later, Johnson, a former U.S. Army cook has helped change history again for blacks in the military. She was thrust into the spotlight when, in the early days of the Iraq War, she was shot in both ankles as her convoy of mechanics, cooks and disabled vehicles wandered into the city of Nasiriyah, Johnson writes in her newly released memoir, 'I'm Still Standing: From Captive U. S. Soldier to Free Citizen--My Journey Home.'

The wandering convoy touched off a bloody battle that left 11 U.S. soldiers dead and six abducted and held as prisoners of war, including Johnson and her friend, Jessica Lynch, she writes in the gripping memoir released just in time for Black History Month.

"I was shaking,'' she writes. "I was saying the Lord's Prayer to myself...when someone grabbed my legs and pulled me from my shelter. And like that, I became a prisoner of war.''

She became the first female prisoner of war in Operation Iraqi Freedom and the first black female prisoner of war in U.S. history. But the Pentagon peddled Lynch's story, saying she went down fighting. Lynch later wrote a book correcting the story, saying she never fired a shot before being critically injured.

While Johnson's ordeal received less media attention, she was treated like a star on her home base at Fort Bliss, Texas. She was given light duties to allow her wounds to heal and was assigned by ranking officers and supervisors to represent the Army at high-profile events, which drew grumblings and rancor from some of her fellow soldiers.

"Being a POW was horrible, but some of the comments I received from fellow soldiers felt just as bad,'' she said in an interview with BV on Books. "I had a lot of support from the African American community, but it's like someone once said, 'Not every black person is your friend, and not every white person is your enemy. A black male was upset because I went to an Oscar De La Hoya fight. He was like, 'I was in the same Army and I didn't get to go.' I was like, 'did you get shot? We had totally different experiences. That hurt my heart. There was another white officer who accused me of housing fraud and said I wasn't living with my child.''

Johnson was rescued in April 2003, but by late August, she was severely depressed, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and at risk of endangering her relationship with her daughter. She requested a medical discharge.

"I wrote my story to set the record straight,'' she said in the interview. "There is so much out there that happened to me from people who were not there. I just wanted to tell my story and let it be known. I'm not naïve. There are people who will still say that is not what happened, but I know in my heart what is true.''

She is critical of the nation's military efforts in Iraq. "I never understood the politics of what's going into Iraq. I want my fellow soldiers to come home. It's not something I can watch on the news. It's very tender.''

Johnson said she still suffers from the aftereffects of combat. "It's going to be a long, hard road to get better,'' she said. "I take medication. It won't ease up as long as these conflicts are going on in the Middle East. I just have to get over the guilt of living when good people died. It's hard, but each day gets easier.''

'I'm Still Standing' is a riveting piece of black history that should be read for generations. It also is a compelling story of a woman's courage to survive against all odds.

Comments: (484)

Add a comment

Page 1 of 49

Most Commented Articles

Get Closer to BV

  • slider Image
  • slider Image
  • slider Image

BLACK MUSIC NEWS
The latest news and updates on a multitude of music stars.
Check It Out!

BLACK MUSIC NOTES

       

MEN OF MCCAFÉ SEARCH
McDonald's continues its nationwide search to find five community-service minded black men during this year's CIAA tournament.


LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD MEN

       
 

Find a Message Board

Discover conversations on everyone from Barack to Beyonce. There are nearly 50 forums, so click on a category below and find the right one for you.