Dap Found Purpose During The Vietnam War

PHOTO CREDIT:

"The dap originated during the late 1960s among black G.I.s stationed in the Pacific during the Vietnam War. At a time when the Black Power movement was burgeoning, racial unrest was prominent in American cities, and draft reforms sent tens of thousands of young African Americans into combat, the dap became an important symbol of unity and survival in a racially turbulent atmosphere. Scholars on the Vietnam War and black Vietnam vets alike note that the dap derived from a pact black soldiers took in order to convey their commitment to looking after one another. Several unfortunate cases of black soldiers reportedly being shot by white soldiers during combat served as the impetus behind this physical act of solidarity."

 

LaMont Hamilton is a photographer and visual artist from Chicago who is conducting research at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage through the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship program.

Picture from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and

Culture - James E. Brown Collection

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