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date: 07 April 2020

Duckworth, Willie Lee locked

(8 Jan. 1924–9 Feb. 2004), U.S. Army private
  • Charles Rosenberg

Extract

who introduced the “Sound Off” pattern of military marching chants in 1944, was born in Sandersville, Washington County, Georgia, the youngest son of George and Lula Thomas Duckworth. His older siblings, born between 1901 and 1921, appear from census records to include Rosa Lee, Lucile, Charlie, Eddie, Laurada, Ledger, George, Jr., Susie, Mary and Ella. George, Jr. died in 1930, and some other children may not have lived to adulthood. Some years, census enumerators recorded the family name as “Duck” or “Dock.”

Duckworth’s parents appear to have died sometime during the 1930s. A few sources refer to his being raised by grandparents, but in 1940 Duckworth was living with his married older sister Ella Pearl and her husband Robert Bloodsaw The family generally farmed on their own account either as sharecroppers or otherwise renting the land they worked Duckworth quit high school to try farming on ...

A version of this article originally appeared in African American National Biography.

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