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Paul Stillwell

pioneer black naval officer, was born in Washington, North Carolina, the eighth of eleven children of Edward L. Cooper, a sheet metal worker, and Laura J. Cooper a homemaker One of the eleven siblings died in infancy the remaining ten became college graduates During his upbringing in North Carolina Cooper often faced the tribulations of southern racism He went to segregated schools and learned from his parents that he had to go out of his way to avoid conflict with whites Once when Cooper was eight or nine years old he got into a fight with a white boy As he put it It was the wrong day for him to call me a nigger and we had it out Stillwell 76 Cooper s father had to smooth things over with the boy s father to avoid the incident s escalation When he worked as a bellhop in ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

World War II veteran and U.S. naval officer, was born in Hamilton, Ohio, the son of Posey Kimmons and Mary Whitaker. He attended Hamilton High School and graduated in 1939. Afterward Kimmons, like so many other young men at the time, joined the Civilian Conservation Corps and was housed at a local camp, sending home a portion of his earnings on a regular basis. However, he also had another interest sparked by watching the 1937 black and white movie Submarine D-1 as a teenager. Eager to join the navy, Kimmons's interest was further piqued when another African American from Hamilton, George Morris came home from the service A tough looking submariner dressed in a navy uniform covered with medals and standing over six feet tall Morris made an indelible impression on Kimmons who later joked that Morris didn t tell us how hard it really was ...

Article

Paul Stillwell

naval officer, was born in Tobacco Port, Tennessee, the son of Charles, a tobacco farmer, and Carrie Martin; he had two sisters and one brother. For the first few years of his life, Martin lived on a farm in Tennessee, near the Cumberland River. When Martin was about five or six years old, his father died. Because she was unable to keep up the farm, his mother moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where she became a seamstress. Graham Martin, by then seven or eight, went with his mother, while his siblings remained in Tennessee. He attended segregated public schools and had to deal with the Jim Crow practices of his new home city. For instance, blacks had to sit in the balconies of movie theaters, and the sports teams on which Martin played were not allowed to compete against teams from local all-white schools.

As he recalled in ...

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Andre D. Vann

naval chaplain and professor, was born in Newport News, Virginia, the son of Thomas David and Edith Rosalie Seabrook Parham. His father was a banker and real estate executive and his mother a homemaker. Parham often remarked that he was named for his uncle Thomas, who lived with the Parham family, encouraged him to go into the ministry, and pastored a church in Durham, North Carolina. Late in his career Thomas Parham Jr. delivered a famous sermon on why he preferred his middle name over his first name. “There are three reasons I use my middle name rather than my first name: ‘Doubting Thomas, Peeping Tom, and Uncle Tom.’”

The Parham family moved to Durham, North Carolina in 1921 after Thomas D T D Parham Sr received a cashier s position at the Fraternal Bank and Trust Company of Durham North Carolina which later merged with the Mechanics ...