1-15 of 15 Results  for:

  • 1877–1928: The Age of Segregation and the Progressive Era x
  • Medal of Honor Recipient x
  • 1866–1876: Reconstruction x
  • 1929–1940: The Great Depression and the New Deal x
Clear all

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean and Vietnam War veteran and Medal of Honor winner, was born in Winnboro, South Carolina, the son of Frizell Anderson, a carpenter, and Blanche Rabb Anderson, a homemaker. Webster's parents had seven children, daughters Frances, Alberta, Marjorie, and Marie, and sons Frizell Jr., Webster, Billy, and Larry.

In 1953, Anderson was drafted by the Army to serve in the Korean War. Although racism suffused the armed forces despite President Harry Truman's executive order to integrate the military, Anderson's initial Army experiences were largely positive. He would later tell his son Davis that joining the Army was “a good thing for him.” He believed that his white commanding officers as much as his fellow soldiers “helped pave the way” for his military career (Anderson). Webster enjoyed a happy private life too, marrying Ida Davis in 1959 In their ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Special Forces soldier in the Vietnam War and Medal of Honor winner, was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the son of Eugene and Cornelia Ashley. Within a short time after the younger Eugene's birth, the family moved to New York City, likely to take advantage of greater opportunities for employment during the Depression years. Ashley graduated from Alexander Hamilton High School in 1948. With employment opportunities limited in the post–World War II era and meaningful jobs hard to come by, Ashley joined the United States Army on 7 December 1950.

During World War II black soldiers had fought in both the Pacific and European theaters in segregated units commanded by white officers. President Truman's 1947 Executive Order 9981 however officially ended segregation practices in all branches of the U S armed forces The tradition bound services proved slow to change and several years passed before ...

Article

Jeffery Othele Mahan

soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Manuel Caldera and Beulah Baker. After the deaths of his parents, Vernon and his sisters, Irma and Katherine, were raised by their maternal grandparents, Joseph Samuel Baker, a retired brakeman for the Union Pacific Railroad, and Dora Lucas. Although his grandparents never officially adopted him, Vernon took the surname Baker and did not know his original surname until later in life. Baker was educated at various elementary and secondary schools, including two years at Father Flanagan's Boys Home in Omaha, Nebraska. Baker finally earned his high school diploma at Clarinda, Iowa, in 1939.

After graduation, Baker returned to Cheyenne, where he found work at the army depot at night doing maintenance, repair, and cleaning jobs. Baker was rejected on his first attempt to join the army. Finally in June 1942 he enlisted and was ...

Article

Marlene L. Daut

escaped slave, navy landsman, and U.S. Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, in 1841 of unknown parentage. Brown was a slave in Mississippi on a cotton plantation, and nothing is known of his childhood or to whom he belonged. In the early 1860s, at the start of the Civil War, Brown ran away from his master on a skiff that eventually managed to reach a Union ship stationed on the Mississippi River. This encounter with the navy probably accounts for his subsequent enlistment. The navy was a likely choice for an escaped slave; many escaped slaves, as well as free blacks from the North, were often drawn to the service because of its better pay and purported fairer treatment of blacks. Brown enlisted in the Union navy on 18 March 1863 under the title 1st Class Boy and was officially described as a Contraband Negro five ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

U.S.Army Special Forces soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Cochran, Georgia, the son of Sebron Bryant. His mother's name is not known. Bryant's parents were divorced when he was a child, and he subsequently went to Detroit to live with an uncle. During his high school years he lived in Newark, New Jersey, and graduated from the Newark Vocational and Technical High School in 1951. Bryant then returned to Detroit, where he enlisted in the army on 16 March 1953, at the end of the Korean War.

The time period in which William Bryant joined the army was a transitional one indeed; the idea of segregating black soldiers in their own units, as had been the army's practice since the Civil War, had only been recently abolished by an executive order from President Harry Truman in October 1951 resulting in the ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

a U.S.Army soldier in World War II and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Edward and Mary (Stuart) Carter. While Carter Sr. was a native of Colorado, his wife Mary was of Anglo-Indian heritage, a native of Calcutta, India. Both of Carter's parents were Christian missionaries, and it would be an understatement to say that his early life was anything but typical for the time. In fact, Carter Jr. at a young age gained a wide perspective of the world; he traveled with his missionary parents to Calcutta in 1925 and spent two years in that country. Sadly, it was a tumultuous time for the Carter family; not only was his father abusive to young Edward, but his mother also left his father, only to die a short time later. Carter Sr. subsequently moved his family to Shanghai in 1927 ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

World War II sailor and Silver Star Medal recipient, was born in Hanna, Oklahoma, the son of Mary Cato. Little recorded information exists on his father. He later graduated from Lincoln High School in Vernon, Oklahoma, where he was a three sport athlete. Upon graduating from school in 1942, Cato worked as a mechanic for a local construction company. His brothers Sachan and Smith were already serving in the army and training as paratroopers when he was drafted for military service in 1943.

After receiving his draft notice, Willmer Cato was inducted into the U.S. Navy in June 1943 at Oklahoma City Oklahoma and subsequently completed his initial recruit training likely at Bainbridge Maryland Like the vast majority of African American men that served in the navy under combat conditions during World War II Cato was assigned to serve in the Steward s Branch This ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean War veteran and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, was born in Eastgulf, Raleigh County, West Virginia, the son of Van Charlton and Clara Thompson. In 1944, at the age of fifteen, Cornelius, called “Connie” by his friends, moved with his family to New York, taking up residence in the Bronx. There he graduated from Monroe High School in 1946. Charlton soon thereafter joined the U.S. Army, serving in an engineering outfit and stationed in Germany as part of the post–World War II occupation forces. Deciding to make a career for himself in the army, Charlton reenlisted in 1950 and was sent overseas to serve in the Korean War.

Charlton s service in the Korean War serves to highlight the black experience in this often forgotten conflict whose combatants seldom receive their proper due The valuable service of black soldiers and sailors in World War II as ...

Article

John Herschel Barnhill

Black Seminole scout, was born either in Arkansas or in Indian territory west of Arkansas. Nothing is known of his parents or childhood. Sixteen Native Americans won the Medal of Honor for their service in the Indian Wars, as the conflicts between indigenous Native Americans and European settlers and their descendents were known. Four of them, including Factor, a private, were Seminole-Negro Indian Scouts, descendants of the slaves who had found refuge with the Seminoles of Florida during the Seminole Wars of 1817 and 1836 and later migrated to Nacimiento, Mexico, in 1850.

When the Seminoles moved to Texas in 1857 the Black Seminoles remained in Mexico rather than risk being enslaved They adapted their survival skills to the new region and became invaluable scouts serving as militia for Mexico against the Comanche and Lipan Apaches Soon though they were sought after by the segregated U S Army ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean War and Vietnam War soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the son of Trenton and Mary Joel. The couple lived on the east side (Ward three) of Winston-Salem and had five children. Trenton Joel supported his family by working as a janitor in a theater. Later on in the 1930s, Lawrence Joel, “Larry” to family and friends, was raised by foster parents Clayton and Ethel Samuels after his parents separated due to the financial difficulties experienced during the Great Depression. Lawrence Joel attended Atkins High School in Winston-Salem but dropped out in 1945, his senior year, and soon joined the Merchant Marine, serving for one year.

Lawrence Joel enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 1946 at New York City and subsequently began a military career that would last nearly twenty-five years. He left the service in 1949 at ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean and VietnamWar soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Eutaw, Alabama, the son of Lawrence and Matilda Leonard. While he was still a small boy, Matthew Leonard and his family moved ninety miles north to the industrial city of Birmingham, Alabama. Here, Matthew, nicknamed “Bill” by his family, attended local public schools, and it was in the eighth grade that he became sweethearts with Lois Mae Coats, who was two years his junior and would be his future wife. When his father was stricken with cancer, Matthew dropped out of A. H. Parker High School to help support his family. Leonard was working as bicycle deliveryman for a local drugstore when he enlisted in the army on 27 August 1947 in Birmingham.

Soon after completing boot camp training, Matthew Leonard was sent to Japan as part of the U S occupation forces of ...

Article

George Derek Musgrove

U.S. congressman, was born Parren James Mitchell, the ninth child of Clarence Maurice Mitchell, a waiter, and Elsie Davis in Baltimore, Maryland. The Mitchells lived in a cramped, two-story row house on one of the “alley” streets of Old West Baltimore, and the family could be considered poor. Parren attended segregated Garnet Elementary School, Booker T. Washington Junior High School, and Frederick Douglass High School, from which he graduated in 1940. In 1942 he joined the army and was immediately shipped overseas where he served in the Ninety-Second Infantry Division as a commissioned officer and company commander. Mitchell was awarded the Purple Heart in 1944 after being wounded during fighting in Italy.

After being honorably discharged from the army in 1946, Mitchell returned to Baltimore to attend Morgan State College. There he earned a BA in Sociology and graduated with honors in 1950 Immediately ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

VietnamWar soldier and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Fallis, Oklahoma, the son of Theodore and Dorothy (Rainger) Pitts. At a young age, the Pitts family moved to Oklahoma City, where Riley attended public schools. After graduating from Douglas High School in Oklahoma City, Riley Pitts attended the University of Wichita (now Wichita State University) in Wichita, Kansas. He was encouraged to attend college there because he had relatives in Wichita, and lived with an aunt while attending school. During his four years at the University of Wichita, Pitts worked for the Boeing Company and also joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC), committing to three years service in the army upon graduating. He also met his future wife, Eula Tolson, during his time in Wichita. Riley Pitts subsequently graduated with a degree in Political Science in 1960 and married his sweetheart in Yuma ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

Korean and VietnamWar army officer and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Claremont, West Virginia, the son of West Virginia natives Clyde Rogers Sr. and his wife Helen. While Charles Rogers's father supported his family by working as a coal miner, his son would have the opportunity to rise further. After graduating from high school, Rogers attended West Virginia State College, earning a B.A. in Mathematics. Interestingly, this hard working and practical young man also had a spiritual side and, despite his studies, had a desire to be a minister. However, his ministering career was soon put on hold and would not become a reality until years later after his retirement from the army.

While attending college Charles Rogers was a member of the Reserve Officer Training Corps ROTC and upon graduating he subsequently gained an officer s commission when he joined the army at Institute West ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

U.S.Army officer and Medal of Honor recipient, was born in Birmingham, Alabama. Federal Census records indicate that he was likely the eldest son of Elie and Mary Thomas. In the 1930s the Thomas family subsequently moved northward, as many African American families did during the Depression Era in order to find greater prospects for employment, and settled in Detroit, Michigan. Here, Thomas's father worked at the Ford Motor Company's River Rouge plant, while Thomas gained a solid education. Said to have “a bookish interest in planes and electronics” (Cohen), Thomas graduated from Cass Technical High School in 1938, and subsequently worked for Ford Motor with his father. By 1942Charles Thomas was enrolled at Wayne State University and majoring in mechanical engineering when he received notice that he was being drafted to serve in World War II.

Thomas began his military career on 20 January 1942 ...