Ulysses Marshall

Born Crisp County, Georgia, 1946, served in Vietnam, Army, 1st Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, Bien Hoa, infantry light weapons specialist, 1965-66.


Motherless Child, 1983, acrylic and crayon on paper
30 x 22 in.

Artist Statement

After I got home and began to paint, I wrote about the war as I had experienced it through the eyes of a nineteen-year-old black man:

Vietnam is a painter's illusion, a nightmare; a dream without an ending, forcing upon young men and women death and destruction.

Vietnam is a black man screaming in a strange world, fighting for a freedom he is yet to have.

Vietnam is a loss of dignity, identity, and pride. It becomes a struggle from within—from the hunting of human lives.

Vietnam is America, for in America black men continue to lose their lives. Bang!

Now I work with children who struggle each day to find comfort, friendship, and love. The Vietnam of yesterday is my tomorrow: to give hope to helplessness and meaning to determination. From a place where I was trained to take a life, today I try to save one. Vietnam is a dream deferred, a place where I found and lost myself and my friends. It is a place I have learned to forgive and to forget.