Another invisible warrior has joined the ranks of service members who are now only known to history. Army World War II veteran and Birmingham civil rights leader, long-time barber James Armstrong dies by Erin Stock -- The Birmingham News November 18, 2009, 12:40PM http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/11/birmingham_civil_rights_leader.html Remembering civil rights leader James Armstronghttp://www.southernstudies.org/2009/11/remembering-civil-rights-leader-james-armstrong.html
Armstrong is one of the 1.2 millions black service members who proved their loyalty to their country by serving during a time of need, thus proving their loyalty to their county. More importantly invisible warriors such as Armstrong came home, demanded equality, invigorated the civil rights movement, and forced open doors for my generation – In 1965 he carried the American flag across Selma's Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama as state troopers beat back marchers in what became known as Bloody Sunday. He earned the right to carry the flag by answering the call when he received his draft notice in 1944.
Soldiers were fighting the world's worst racist, Adolph Hitler, in the world's most segregated army," says historian and National Geographic explorer in residence Stephen Ambrose. "The irony did not go unnoticed says historian and National Geographic explorer in residence Stephen Ambrose. Black Soldiers in WW II: Fighting Enemies at Home and Abroad Lisa Krause
National Geographic News (February 15, 2001) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/02/0215_tuskegee.html
Stephen Ambrose wrote about the irony of black soldiers in the world's most segregated army fighting the world's worst racist, Hitler. Why would black Americans want to risk their lives in a war that many perceived as "the White man's business?" Ambrose told Krause that “World War II gave the Civil Rights Movement its spark.”
Civil Rights Icon James Armstrong Dies By Debbie Elliott http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2009/11/civil_rights_icon_james_armstr.html
Selma-to-Montgomery March http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/civilrights/al4.htm
I have heard much about the march to Selma – I was just a child. I have seen film clips of the march but I did not understand the significance of Armstrong carrying the American flag – he earned the right to carry that flag by serving in the army in Europe during World War II. I’ve decided to find out as much as I can about this invisible warrior – more to come.
Copyright © Sharon D. Powell, 2009 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED