LaVallais, Paul


American, b. 1949


Most American soldiers in Vietnam seem to have had cameras, and many documented their experiences in detailed albums. This particular album, compiled by Pfc. Paul LaVallais of the 23rd Medical Battalion, a proud African American from New Orleans, celebrates the February 1971 visit to Vietnam of "Miss Black America," Stephanie Clark, and her entourage. The goodwill tour was intended to reduce rising racial tensions among U.S. military in Vietnam, particularly following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1968. LaVallais’s album narrates a rapturous homage to "our queen" and includes images of the stage show with singers and go-go dancers presented to over 5,000 assembled soldiers, mostly African Americans. In one sequence, a group of soldiers raises a clenched-fist salute and displays a Black Power flag.

Artworks by LaVallais, Paul

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