Monday, August 24, 2015

The Confederacy was a con job on whites

Blog writer tells the truth about the Confederacy

Recently Hillsborough, North Carolina resident and
writer, Frank Hyman posted a very frank op-ed about the civil war. As his
headline suggest white southerners were conned into rebelling against the
United States government. I agree with Hyman, though many white southerners
still cling to the myth that here ancestors were fighting to protect their
homeland. This was not true.

Sadly, as Hyman notes generations of white
southerners are not given accurate accounts of why their ancestors were willing
to fight. The argument that the resurrection was not about slavery but rather
about “states’ rights.”
 For generations
white supremacist have refused to admit that slavery was immoral or that the
concept that men and women of African descent deserve to be treated with the
same dignity and respect as individuals of European descent.

Sadly, many of the comments about Hyman’s essay are
very cruel and visceral, as these dependents of slave owner and their
supporters tried desperately to refute Hyman’s well researched, historically accurate
essay. For me this is disheartening. I can’t help but wonder if we will ever be
able to really move on. Will the decedents of slave owners; and will supporters
of slavery every admit that slavery and the notion of holding human beings in
bondage was morally wrong and reprehensible? One can only hope that someday
they see the light.

I commented on his post and got some very negative
responses. In several of my comments I suggested the civil war supporters
google each state’s secession documents. No one took me up on my request.:(


HYMAN: The Confederacy
was a con job on whites - and still is

Friday, August 7,
2015 10:30 pm
The Confederacy was a con job on whites - and still is

HYMAN: The Confederacy was a con job on whites - and still is - Richmond Times-Dispatch: THEIR OPINION#.VdIFMzOF4-U.facebook#.VdIFMzOF4-U.facebook


World War II set in motion a movement that eventually led to freedom



*          To absorb the larger numbers of African Americans being admitted, the Army formed several new all-black units, primarily in the service and technical forces. The 47th and 48th Quartermaster Regiments formed in 1939 were followed in 1940 by the first Chemical Decontamination Company, the 41st General Service Engineer Regiment as well as artillery, coastal artillery, and transportation units.

*          President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Selective Training and Service Act, the first peacetime draft in U.S. history. The act contained an anti-discrimination clause and established a 10 percent quota system to ensure integration. Shortly thereafter, Assistant Secretary of War Robert Patterson issued a memo on segregation that seemingly contradicted the new legislation’s racial policy. Segregated troops remained official U.S. Army policy throughout World War II, because it did not consider racial separation discriminatory. The Army did attempt to dispel racist beliefs among its white officers by issuing Army Service Forces Manual M5, Leadership and the Negro Soldier.

*          Black leaders met with the Secretary of the Navy and the Assistant Secretary of War to present a seven-point program for the mobilization of African Americans. Included were demands for flight training, the admission of black women into Red Cross and military nursing units, and desegregation of the armed forces. President Roosevelt issued a statement on 9 October 1940 that argued against the latter demand on the basis that it would adversely affect national defense. Although he promised to ensure that the services enlisted blacks in proportion to their demographic presence, Roosevelt continued policies dating back to WWI. Many African Americans were angered by the White House’s erroneous claim that the black leaders had approved the statement. However, additional political pressure by African Americans and some Republicans convinced Roosevelt to do more. Consequently, Benjamin O. Davis, Sr. was promoted to Brigadier General, flight training for blacks was planned, more blacks were drafted, Judge William H. Hastie was made a special aide to the Secretary of War, and a black advisor was appointed for the Selective Service Board.

*          Judge William H. Hastie, dean of the Howard University Law School, assumed the position of Civilian Aid to the Secretary of War in Matters of Black Rights. The position was similar to that held by Emmett J. Scott (highest-ranking African-American in Woodrow Wilson’s Administration) during World War I.

*          The U.S. Army Air Corps sent plans to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama concerning the training of African-American pilots. On 6 January 1941, General Henry H. ("Hap") Arnold informed the Assistant Secretary of War about his decision to restrict the training of black flyers to Tuskegee where the necessary facilities to more quickly implement the program were available. In addition, the school was close enough to Montgomery to be supervised by the Maxwell Field Commander

1941 The U. S. Army activated the 366th Infantry Regiment, the first all-black Regular Army unit commanded by black officers.       

1941 Willa B. Brown becomes a training coordinator for the Civil Aeronautics Administration a teacher in the Civilian Pilot Training Program.

January 1942 Black labor organizer and civil rights leader (and later politician, writer, and
Ernest Calloway was the first black to refuse to be inducted because he objected to the
Army's racist segregation policy. He was a member of the Conscientious Objectors Against Jim
Crow; a group that claimed African American should be exempt from military service because of
discrimination. Calloway's protest and subsequent imprisonment generated a lot of national
publicity.  Although this particular group disbanded after Calloway was incarcerated, over 400
other black men also became conscientious objectors during WWII. Some were members of the
Nation of Islam who refused induction on religious grounds, while others like William Lynn refused
to serve because the quota system established by the armed forces contradicted the anti-discrimination
clauses of the September 1940 Selective Service and Training Act.
January 1941 Labor and civil rights leader, A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of
Sleeping Car Porters, proposed a massive March on Washington in July 1941 to protest unfair labor
practices in the defense industry and the military’s discrimination against African Americans. During
WWI, Randolph had not endorsed other black leaders’ calls to put aside their own grievances and
unite behind the war effort, stating, "that rather than volunteer to make the world safe for democracy,
he would fight to make Georgia safe for the Negro." His demands for full black participation
continued in WWII.
9 January 1941 Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson formally approved the establishment of the
flight-training program at Tuskegee Institute.
13 January 1941 The U.S. Army established the 78th Tank Battalion, the first black armor unit.
The first African-American tankers reported to Fort Knox, Kentucky, to begin armored warfare
training in March 1941. The Seventy-eighth was re-designated on May 8, 1941 as the 758th Tank
Battalion (Light). It was the first of three tank battalions comprising the 5th Tank Group, which was
made up of black enlisted men and white officers. The other two tank battalions were the 761st and
784th. Initially inactivated on 22 September 1945 at Viareggio, Italy, the 758th was reactivated in
1946 and later fought in the Korean War as the 64th Tank Battalion.
February 1941 The 1st Battalion, 351st Field Artillery Regiment was activated at Camp Livingston,
Louisiana, as part of the 46th Field Artillery Brigade. Re-designated the 351st Field Artillery
Battalion in 1943, the unit arrived in Europe in December 1944. The African-American enlisted
personnel were officered by 16 blacks and 15 whites. While stationed in England from December
1944 to February 1945, the 351st Field Artillery Group-Colored’s 50-man Caisson Choir sang for the
British public in such notable places as Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. After being
transferred to France in March 1945, the unit was attached to the 9th U.S. Army. While engaged in
fighting with the Germans, the 361st fired over 6200 rounds of 155mm Howitzer artillery ammunition
into enemy territory.
25 June 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, which reiterated the
federal government’s previously stated policy of nondiscrimination in war industry employment. It
also created a Committee on Fair Employment Practice to oversee the application of the president’s
directive and to expand new job opportunities for black workers. This action was in keeping with a
promise made to A. Philip Randolph if he would call off his planned "March on Washington" to
protest discrimination and segregation.
29 June 1941-16 November 1944 While on assignment with the Army’s Inspector General,
Brigadier General Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., completed several notable inspections involving black
troops stationed at northern and southern posts. In a memorandum of 9 November 43, Davis
pointed out the nearly impossible task required of African-American soldiers in developing "a
high morale in a community that offers him nothing but humiliation and mistreatment." He
reported that instead of working to eliminate "Jim Crow" laws in the military, "the Army, by its
directives and by actions of commanding officers, has introduced the attitudes of the ‘Governors
of the six Southern states,’ in many of the other 42 states of the continental United States." He
also conducted several important inquiries into racial clashes between white soldiers or civilians
and black soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Alexandria, Louisiana; Fort Dix, New
Jersey; Selfridge Field (now Air Force Base), Michigan; and Camp Stewart, Georgia. In his reports,
Davis recommended that African-American soldiers gradually be removed from southern posts and
that black officers be assigned to command black troops. General Davis also represented the War
Department at numerous functions involving black civilians, such as war bond rallies or speeches
given to war industry workers.
July 1941 The Army opened its integrated officer's candidate schools. For the first 6 months,
however, only 21 of the more than 2000 men admitted were black. Whites protested the policy and
some black leaders demanded a quota be established to ensure parity, but the Army justified its
policy of ignoring race in regard to officer training on the grounds of efficiency and economy.
Unfortunately, race continued to determine assignments after newly commissioned officers
graduated. Too often, more qualified African-American officers were put in charge of service units,
while less qualified white officers continued to be assigned to black combat units. The degree of
authority and respect given to black officers also remained a serious problem, since black officers
were unable to command even the lowest ranking white soldiers.
19 July 1941 The U.S. Army Air Corps began training African-American pilots at the Tuskegee
Institute in Alabama. Actual flight instruction began on 25 August. The Tuskegee Institute, which
prepared the 926 members of the famed "Tuskegee Airmen" for combat in WWII, remained the
only official military flight training school for black pilots until its program closed with the
graduation of the last class on 26 June 1946.
4 August 1941 The first commanding officer of Huntsville Arsenal (Alabama), Colonel Rollo C. Ditto,
arrived and broke ground for the initial construction of the installation. Huntsville Arsenal, which was
part of the Chemical Warfare Service, was the sole manufacturer of colored smoke munitions. It also
produced gel-type incendiaries and toxic agents such as mustard gas, phosgene, lewisite, and tear gas.
The Army broke ground on neighboring Redstone Arsenal on 25 October 1941. This Ordnance Corps
installation manufactured chemical artillery ammunition, burster charges, rifle grenades, and various
types of bombs. African-American men and women worked at both arsenals during WWII. By May
1944, when civilian employment reached its wartime peak of 6,707 men and women, blacks
represented 22 percent of the work force at Huntsville Arsenal.
Notable Black units in WWII
Some of the most notable African American Army units which served in World War II were:
92nd Infantry Division
366th Infantry Regiment
93rd Infantry Division
369th Infantry Regiment
371st Infantry Regiment
2nd Cavalry Division
4th Cavalry Brigade
9th Cavalry Regiment
10th Cavalry Regiment
5th Cavalry Brigade
27th Cavalry Regiment
28th Cavalry Regiment
 Air Corps Units
332d Fighter Group (Tuskegee Airmen)
 Non Divisional Units
Infantry Units
555th Parachute Infantry Battalion
 Cavalry/Armor Units
US Military Academy Cavalry Squadron
 5th Reconnaissance Squadron
 758th Tank Battalion
 761st Tank Battalion
 784th Tank Battalion
 Field Artillery Units
46th Field Artillery Brigade [15] .
 184th Field Artillery Regiment, Illinois National Guard.
 333rd Field Artillery Regiment [16] .
 349th Field Artillery Regiment [17]
 350th Field Artillery Regiment [18]
 351st Field Artillery Regiment [19]
 353rd Field Artillery Regiment [20]
 578th Field Artillery Regiment [21]
 333rd Field Artillery Battalion
 349th Field Artillery Battalion
 350th Field Artillery Battalion
 351st Field Artillery Battalion
 353rd Field Artillery Battalion
 578th Field Artillery Battalion
 593rd Field Artillery Battalion
 594th Field Artillery Battalion
 595th Field Artillery Battalion
 596th Field Artillery Battalion
 597th Field Artillery Battalion
 598th Field Artillery Battalion
 599th Field Artillery Battalion
 600th Field Artillery Battalion
 686th Field Artillery Battalion
 777th Field Artillery Battalion
 795th Field Artillery Battalion
 930th Field Artillery Battalion, Illinois National Guard
 931st Field Artillery Battalion, Illinois National Guard
 969th Field Artillery Battalion
 971st Field Artillery Battalion
 973rd Field Artillery Battalion
 993rd Field Artillery Battalion
 999th Field Artillery Battalion
Tank Destroyer Units
614th Tank Destroyer Battalion
646th Tank Destroyer Battalion
649th Tank Destroyer Battalion
659th Tank Destroyer Battalion
669th Tank Destroyer Battalion
679th Tank Destroyer Battalion
795th Tank Destroyer Battalion
827th Tank Destroyer Battalion
828th Tank Destroyer Battalion
829th Tank Destroyer Battalion
846th Tank Destroyer Battalion
 Two segregated units were organized by the United States Marine Corps:
 51st Defense Battalion. (Composite)
 52nd Defense Battalion. (Composite

Another warrior has left this planet

For the last sever years I have been on a journey. Some might say my quest is grandiose, others ask why I haven't been able to complete this project.
I lost my way and I admit I stop working on my book because I sometimes find it hard to focus. I think I'm back on track now.
This Stars and Strips story about the death of a black World War II WAC who was believed to be one of the oldest WWII veterans has been a wakeup call. My subjects are dying and if I want to tell their stories I have to get serious about finishing this book.
I need help. If you know of anyone African American men or women who served during WWII. let me know.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


It has been several months, since I posted on the blog. Tonight I ran into an acquaintance who said she had been to my blog but noticed I had not posted anything new. My face began to burn with embarrassment. I have a commitment to my followers to share my writing. I don't have any excuse. I should have written about the 69th anniversary of the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor on December 7. I should have written so

mething about the Invisible Warriors, who are dying every day, I apologize to anyone who may have wanted to follow my blog. I will make it a point to write every day. Tonight I am free writing.

There are many resources for writers such as online workshops, books, writing coaches and editing services. In articles writing experts advise aspiring writers like me to write, wright, write. This is good advice and I have been writing. I just submitted an essay I wrote about a family tragedy to contests. Now I have my fingers crossed.

The title of my essay is "Jessie's grand kids and the charcoal painting. Jessie who is six years older than me is my niece. Sadly, three years ago their mother murdered her late son's daughters. It was hard for most of us to understand how a mother could murder her own children, even though research has shown that young children are more likely to be abused and sometimes murdered by their mother than anyone else. For the last 20 years, I have had a print of a charcoal painting by Bermudian artists, Sharon Wilson. The painting is of a young mother who sits on the floor lotus style with her baby. She is holding her baby so that there noises are touching. For me, this image represents the bond that a mother has with her child. A bond that is supposed to last forever. This image is incongruent to the image of a mother methodically murdering her children. This is what I wrote about. Now I have to wait three months to hear if I won. In the meantime, I have been pitching the Randolph Williamson Jr. story to my local newspaper.

Sammy, my two-year-old Beagle hound mix, prompted my other writing project. I want to know if it is better to adopt a dog or buy from a breeder. Based on my research I honestly believe it is more humane to adopt. If Sammy had not been rescued, he would have been euthanized. This wonderful little dog would have been given an injection to put him to sleep.

Through my research, I have learned that shelter dogs or rescue dogs are healthier than many dogs raised by Puppy Mill owners. My advice to anyone who wants a dog is to check out your local shelter or SPCA and adopt. You won't regret it. I promise.

Well, it's after midnight and my eyes are getting heavy. Look for more updates later.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I've been away working on three story ideas. I am still waiting for information from the National Park Service in Hawaii about Randolph Williamson. I also have an op-ed I am pitching about a very sad family experience and my third writing project is about quilting. Is quilting a dying art? Or, does anyone younger than 60 hand sew quilts?

Wow, when do I get to sleep? I don't. It's midnight and I had planned to be in bed by ten p.m. Oh well. Life is so exciting. I do have a writing project for this blog and I hope to post it by Friday. In the meantime, check out
Sharon Denise  

Monday, September 20, 2010


It appears I am not the only person who has problems blogging every day. Today fellow blogger Maggie Sullivan wrote about the notorious "Writer's block," that writers sometimes experience on her blog titled "I simply found it difficult to write" Sullivan notes that writing on a blog several days a week is "as pressing as keeping a deadline for a newspaper or magazine.”

Sullivan, who is a published author and editor, describes the process of developing an idea and transferring that idea from her brain to paper. She also writes that sometimes this work did not make it from the brain to the blank page, but rather "remained, often untended and with no conscious effort on my part, continued to grow," she writes.

Like Sullivan when my work does not make it from my brain to the blank page, it remains, often untended and with no conscious effort on my part, continuing to grow. Sullivan writes that she believes "our worst nightmares, fears and insecurities are the product of those lousy weeds needing to go to the trash."

What does this mean for aspiring writers like me? Sullivan writes that her stories are" event-driven, an alter-ego, a character from an ongoing series, the memory of someone from my childhood or the man across the counter at a diner this morning." This is also true for me. For example, I am currently working on an article I hope to convince my local newspaper to publish.

Last year I interviewed a wonderful 92-year-old woman in my city named Millie Dunn Veasey. Veasey, who is black, had served in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. She casually mentioned that one of her classmates died on board the battleship USS Arizona December 7, 1941 during the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, HI. I have carried that bit of information in my brain for more than a year without understanding the impact of what she had said. I mentioned this young man, Mess Attendant Second Class Randolph Williamson Jr. in chapter one of my book. I even checked the Arizona casualty list and found his name. But, I did not connect the dots – this young man from my state may have been one of the first men to die in that war. More importantly, he may have been the first black man to die during World War II. This is relevant.

Thus, like Sullivan I had an idea that was event driven churning around in my mind but it would take time before that idea could make it to paper. The way Sullivan describes this process is that "the idea gets stuck in your brain, it becomes that germ and most of us, at least at the beginning, never know what we’ll get, a bouquet or a tangled mess."

Sullivan wrote about her feelings and experiences but she also described my writing journey and probably that of many other writers as well. Today Sullivan motivated me to write for my blog. Last weekend I completed a 1,000-word draft about my shipmate, Petty Officer Williamson and I am working on my query letter. Wish me luck and if you are an inspiring writer check out Sullivan's blog.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


I have been away from my blog for nearly three months. When I started this blog, I did not realize how much time and effort it would take. I still believe my primary goal, which is telling the story of black men and women who served in the US military during World War II is worth telling and I intend to complete my project. However, I now understand it is not as easy as I thought it would be.

None-the-less, after working on other projects and completing a one-month deployment with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Kentucky in support of a flood disaster relief there I am writing again.

This was my second deployment with FEMA as a research/writer. Working in a Joint Field Office External Affairs Office (public affairs office) is just like working in a Navy public affairs office. The only difference is I did not have to wear a uniform or call anyone 'Sir' or 'Ma'am'.

I learned something from this experience. It is good to be able to do honest work – especially when that work makes a difference. This experience also reminded me of how important my twenty-year military experience was. The military is where I developed my work ethic. The first two weeks I was in Kentucky I worked from7 am until 7 pm, seven days a week – nothing new for a sailor. It was rough, but I understood the reasoning. I was comfortable in Lexington, which is about 100 miles away from Pike County, where most of the mid-July flooding occurred. But there was little comfort for many of the families in the flooded areas where it was a 24-hour a day, seven day a week reality – I could not complain.

In spite of the long hours, many of the Disaster Assistance Employees or DAEs (as we are called because we are FEMA's reserve force) are older. Some are retired and several of my co-workers are in their seventies and older. Like me, many DAEs are also ex-military.
It is unfortunate that it takes a disaster, such as an earthquake, oil spill, hurricane or a major flood to bring work for DAEs like me, but natural disasters and sadly some man-made disasters cannot be avoided. I have been following Hurricane Igor in the Atlantic right now. I live in North Carolina and hope this category-four storm does not hit my state. It looks as if it may possibly hit Bermuda. I was stationed in Bermuda and as grateful as I am that the US is not in danger I am not relieved that the storm may hit Bermuda. All I can do is pray that the storm stays out to sea and disappears.
In the meantime, I am writing again and I am writing about the black military men and women who served during World War II. I owe them so much.