Category: Military

Febuary 1 1998- Lillian E. Fishburne

GM – FBF – If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride – and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high but so are the rewards.

Remember – The promotion to Rear Admiral was a goal that I set for myself to obtaining while in the U.S. Navy. With God’s help and my dedication to the job it was done. – Rear Admiral U.S. Navy – Lillian Elaine Fishburne,

Today on our History – February 1, 1998 – Lillian E. Fishburne, the first African American woman to become a Rear Admiral in the United States Navy, was born on March 25, 1949 in Patuxent River, Maryland. Fishburne was raised in Rockville, Maryland where she attended Richard Montgomery High School. In 1971, she graduated from Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology. In February 1973, Fishburne became an Ensign after graduating from the Women Officers School at Newport, Rhode Island.

Fishburne’s first naval assignment was at the Naval Air Test Facility, Lakehurst, New Jersey, as a Personnel and Legal Officer. From August 1974 to November 1977, Fishburne was an Officer Programs recruiter in Miami, Florida. For the next three years, 1977 to 1980, Fishburne was the Officer in charge of the Naval Telecommunications Center at the Great Lakes, Illinois Naval Base.

Fishburne earned her Master of Arts in Management from Webster College in St. Louis, Missouri in 1980 and for the next two years was a student at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. In 1982, Fishburne earned her Master of Science in Telecommunications Systems Management at the Naval Postgraduate School. After graduating, Fishburne served for two years at the Command, Control, Communications Directorate for the Chief of Naval Operations.

Fishburne held assignments in Japan, Washington, D.C., and Key West, Florida for the next decade. In December 1994, she became Chief of the Command and Control Systems Support Division for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. She then served as commander of the Naval Computer and Telecommunications Area Master Station in Wahiawa, Hawaii from 1995 to 1998. On February 1, 1998, she attained the rank of Rear Admiral and was promoted by the President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

After three years as the Director of the Information Transfer Division for the Space, Information Warfare for the Chief of Naval Operations, in Washington, D.C., Fishburne retired in February 2001. Her decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and the Navy Achievement Medal. Fishburne is married to Albert J. Sullivan, a native of Daytona Beach, Florida. They have a daughter named Cherese. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 11 1917-

GM- FBF – Our story today is a prelude to what is happening and will intensify more in the summer of 1919. The “bloody summer” as it will be called in many urban areas of the United States, As WWI draws to a close in America compared to the black troops in France are getting a different experience. Today’s story will be no different than East . Louis, IL. and other cities. Enjoy!

Remember – “They told us to put on the Uniform and we can show are support to this Country for the war effort, it was a lie for many of us” – Unknown Black soldier

Today in our History – On Dec. 11, 1917, 13 black soldiers were hanged for their part in a little-remembered and deadly race riot. They were condemned to death after a trial many called unjust.

Now, at a moment when the continuing impact of racism in policing and criminal justice is a topic of fraught public conversation throughout the United States, relatives on both sides of that Houston riot are uniting to preserve the memory of the event and to find some justice for those executed soldiers.

It began in July 1917, following America declaring war on Germany and entering World War I. The 3rd Battalion of the 24th United States Infantry, a predominantly black unit, was sent to guard the construction of Camp Logan — part of the new war effort — on the edge of Houston.

From the beginning, the soldiers encountered Jim Crow law and racism from police and civilians; workers constructing the camp resented their presence.

“They sent these soldiers into the most hostile environment imaginable,” says Charles Anderson, a relative of Sgt. William Nesbit, one of the hanged soldiers. “The soldiers should never have been sent there — they should have remained at their base in New Mexico until the order came to go to France.” 
Tensions mounted until around noon on Aug. 23, when the Houston police arrested a black soldier for allegedly interfering in the arrest of a black woman, triggering a rapid escalation of events leading to false rumors reaching Camp Logan by evening that a soldier had been killed and that a white mob was approaching the camp.

Soldiers grabbed rifles and headed into downtown Houston, against the orders of their superior officers. The rampage lasted two hours and involved gun battles between the soldiers and the police and local residents, with bayonets being used, leaving 16 white locals dead, including five policemen. Four black soldiers also died.

After tempers finally cooled, the soldiers returned to camp. The next day martial law was declared in Houston, and the following day the unit was dispatched back to New Mexico before three courts-martial were convened to try 118 indicted soldiers.

Sixty-four men were tried in San Antonio, charged with disobeying orders, mutiny, murder and aggravated assault, during the first court-martial that began Nov. 1 — the largest murder trial in US military history —resulting in the 13 death sentences.

“They were represented by just one lawyer and didn’t even have a chance to appeal,” says Angela Holder, great-niece of Cpl. Jesse Moore, one of the hanged soldiers, and a history professor at Houston Community College. “They were denied due process guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Not one Houstonian among the prosecution witnesses could identify a soldier as having fired shots that killed someone, while routinely referring to the accused using the n-word. Seven soldiers agreed to testify against the others in exchange for clemency.

On Nov. 28, the 13 men were found guilty and sentenced to death. Two weeks later, without an appeal, they were hanged on Dec. 11.

Shortly after the hasty executions, and in the face of condemnation from both military and civilian figures, the US Army made changes to its Uniform Code of Military Justice to prevent executions without a meaningful appeal. These changes remain in place to this day.

It was too late for the soldiers hanged from a scaffold beside the Salado Creek in San Antonio. But some in Houston say it’s not too late for some kind of justice. During the Obama presidency, soldiers’ relatives lobbied — unsuccessfully — for posthumous pardons. The petitions have now been sent to the Trump White House.

Holder was more successful in 2017 at lobbying the Veterans Association for gravestones in a Houston cemetery for two soldiers killed during the riot. And along with other local activists, she also helped organize the Aug. 23 rededication of a Texas Historical Commission marker at the former site of Camp Logan to mark the riot’s 100th anniversary.

The ceremony was attended by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, who said the history of the event is “calling us today to be better,” and “for good people of all backgrounds to speak against hate and stand united.”

And it wasn’t the only 100th anniversary to help focus the minds of those familiar with the riot on the past, present and future.

“The centennial of the US entry into World War I has likely brought a heightened awareness of such events and emboldened people to address a sensitive topic,” says Lila Rakoczy, program coordinator of military sites and oral history programs at the Texas Historical Commission.

Also, recent national police controversies have struck unfortunate parallels with events surrounding the riot.
“This was a problem created by community policing in a hostile environment,” says Paul Matthews, founder of Houston’s Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, which examines the role of African American soldiers during US military history. “The soldiers were standing up for America when it wasn’t standing up for them.”

A similar perspective is shared by some relatives of those who suffered because of the rioting soldiers.
“The soldiers were 100 percent wrong for rioting, but I don’t blame them,” says Jules James, great-nephew of Capt. Bartlett James, one of the battalion’s white officers who managed to restrain a larger number of soldiers from leaving camp but died under mysterious circumstances before the court-martial, notes James, who has researched the history. “The unit had 60 years of excellent service, was full of experienced veterans but couldn’t endure seven weeks of Houston.”

Current attempts to deal with this racial tragedy brought Sandra Hajtman, great-granddaughter of one of the policemen killed, together with Holder and Anderson when they met to retrace the Houston streets taken by the rioting soldiers.
“The men did not have a fair trial,” Hajtman says. “I have no doubt about the likelihood the men executed had nothing to do with the deaths. You have to look at the whole story, why it happened, and learn from it — both sides bear responsibility.”

Relatives continue waiting for a response to the pardon petitions. In the meantime, preserving the memory of the Houston riot and its aftermath has itself served as a kind of justice for the relatives of the soldiers and police who died because of it.

‘’Sandra Hajtman’s ancestor, who was killed, was a good policeman and would bring abandoned black children to his home where his wife would nurse them,” Anderson says. “No one should have lost their life that night had the right decisions been made. It was a very sad tragedy that did not need to happen.”

In November, the largest court-martial in U.S. military history convened at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio to try sixty-three soldiers from the Third Battalion. Thirteen of the convicted men were executed by hanging on December 11.

The following year, two additional courts-martial were held and another sixteen sentenced to hang. Responding to pressure from black leaders, President Woodrow Wilson commuted the death sentences of ten of the condemned men. In total, nearly sixty soldiers received life imprisonment for their roles in the affair. The Houston Mutiny anticipated the “Red Summer” riots of 1919 in which many African American servicemen retaliated against white mistreatment. On the other hand because of the Mutiny, the Twenty-fourth Infantry Regiment was not allowed by the U.S War Department to go to France to fight in World War I.

Houston marked an anniversary in December that some in the city would perhaps rather forget — and others demand be recalled more clearly. Research more about this and other events leading up to the “Red Summer” and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

December 4 1942-

GM – FBF – Our story today centers around World War II and how black women changed the face of training for back women. Enjoy!

Remember – “ We were soldiers just like the men but it was heard for us just like our black brothers”

Today in our History – December 4, 1942 – 32nd and 33rd WAACS Headquarters Companies (World War II) – the army post was the largest black military post in the country.

Organized in the fall of 1942, Iowa, the all-black Thirty-Second and Thirty-third Women’s Auxiliary Army Companies would become the first contingent of WAACS assigned to a military installation in the United States during World War II. Composed of nearly 200 auxiliaries and seven officers, company members completed six weeks of intensive training in Iowa before reporting to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, on December 4, 1942. At the time, the army post was the largest black military post in the country. There, the units were assigned to the Ninth Service Command and the post headquarters, respectively.

Under the command of the first group of Fort Des Moines’s graduating class of black commissioned officers—Irma Jackson Cayton, Vera Ann Harrison, Frances Alexander, Violet Askins, Natalie Donaldson, Mary Kearney, and Corrie Sherard—auxiliaries ably performed clerical and administrative work as stenographers, typists, telephone switchboard operators, clerks, messengers, reception ists, and motor pool drivers and mechanics. The positions held by the WAACs and the duties they performed cohered with the racial and gendered employment policies developed by senior Army leaders and Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps officials, relieving the men of the U.S. Ninety-third Infantry Division also stationed at the military outpost to undergo extensive field training in the Arizona desert.

Upon their arrival, auxiliaries of the Thirty-second and Thirty-third companies quickly enhanced the training programs at Fort Huachuca. The successful performances of Auxiliaries Priscilla Taylor and Reba Caldwell while working with a Ninety-third Infantry division convoy during its desert training exercises garnered admiration and praise from the post commander, Edwin Hardy, and division personnel. And WAAC recreational officers Geraldine Bright and Mercedes Jordan created All WAAC Musical Revues, Glee Clubs, and USO comedies, providing precious moments of levity for the uniformed servicewomen and men training at the desert installation. Yet the formal presence of the WAAC company servicewomen and officers and the duties they performed while stationed at the military post were subject to intense scrutiny grounded in prevailing sexual stereotypes and innuendo at nearly every turn.

The Thirty-Second and Thirty-Third Post Headquarters Companies continued to serve at Fort Huachuca, Arizona before being disbanded in late 1945. However, many of its senior officers were subsequently reassigned to other military installations throughout the United States or deployed for overseas duty with the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in Europe later in the war. Research more about Black Woman in the services and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

November 24 1943- Dorie Miller

GM – FBF – Today’s story is about a man who gave his last ounce of courage for the people of black American’s and the
whole of the nation. Many stories about this man’s courage comes out now but during this black man’s time in the Navy during the boming, for his action he a be looked at as a hero and not just a cook, enjoy!

Remember – “”This marks the first time in this conflict that such high tribute has been made in the Pacific Fleet to a member of his race and I’m sure that the future will see others similarly honored for brave acts. – Dorie Miller

Today in our History – November 24, Dorie Miller dies. He was one of hero of WWII.

Dorie Miller (1919-1943), Hero of World War II
• Serving in a noncombat role in the Navy, Dorie Miller responded heroically when the battleship West Virginia was attacked at Pearl Harbor.

• Because the Navy was segregated, African Americans were not given combat roles or weaponry training, so Miller’s adept ability to shoot down enemy planes was all the more remarkable

• First African American awarded the U.S. Navy Cross
Doris Miller, known as “Dorie,” was born in Waco, Texas, in 1919. He was one of four sons. After high school, he worked on his father’s farm until 1938 when he enlisted in the Navy as mess attendant (kitchen worker) to earn money for his family. At that time the Navy was segregated so combat positions were not open to African-Americans.

On December 7, 1941, Dorie arose at 6 a.m. to begin work. When the Japanese attack occurred, he immediately reported to his assigned battle station. Miller was a former football player and a Navy boxing champ so his job was to carry any of the injured to safer quarters; this included the mortally wounded ship’s captain.
Miller then returned to deck and saw that the Japanese planes were still dive-bombing the U.S. Naval Fleet. He picked up a 50-caliber Browning antiaircraft machine gun on which he had never been trained and managed to shoot down three to four enemy aircraft. (In the chaos of the attack, reports varied, and not even Miller was sure how many he hit.) He fired until he ran out of ammunition; by then the men were being ordered to abandon ship. The West Virginia had been severely damaged and was slowly sinking to the harbor bottom.

Of the 1541 men on board during the attack, 130 were killed and 52 wounded.

On April 1, 1942 Miller was commended by the Secretary of the Navy, Frank Knox, and on May 27, 1942 he received the Navy Cross for his extraordinary courage in battle. His rank was raised to Mess Attendant First Class on June 1, 1942.
As happened with other war heroes, Dorie Miller was then sent on a tour in the States to raise money for war bonds, but Miller he was soon called back (spring ’43) to serve on the new escort carrier the USS Liscome Bay. The ship was operating in the Pacific near the Gilbert Islands.

At 5:10 a.m. on November 24, the ship was hit by a single torpedo fired from a Japanese submarine. The torpedo detonated the bomb magazine on the carrier; the bombs exploded, and the ship sank within minutes. Miller was initially listed as missing; by November 1944 he status was changed to “presumed dead.” Only 272 men survived the attack.

Today there is a Dorie Miller park in Hawaii and a good number of schools and buildings throughout the U.S. are named in his honor. He was also one of four Naval heroes featured on U.S. postal stamps in 2010.

However, many officers and men in the Navy felt that for his actions on the West Virginia at Pearl Harbor, Miller deserved more—that he should have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
Following the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I heard from many people who would like to show their support for Dorie Miller being given the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously. Research more about this great American hero. Share with your babies and make it a champion day!

November 11 1918- World War I Ends

GM – FBF – Today’s story is one of the greatest watermarks in our History November 11, 1918. The day the guns fell silent on the Western Front in Europe and “The War to end all wars was over”. On 11 November 1918 at 1100, the armistice between the Allies and Central Powers went into effect or did it?

My great grandfather from Houston County, GA. served in the 92nd Division which was all black and while returning home from Europe in February, 1919 he stopped in a tavern in Valdosta, GA and was lynched with his uniform on. Not that uncommon for the time, during the summer and fall of 1919, anti-black race riots erupted in ninety-six cities across America. The lynching of blacks also increased from two hundred and eight in 1918 to seven hundred and seven in 1919. (Many say there were more)

At least two hundred and seventy of those victims were war veterans, and some were lynched while in uniform. Today’s story is about the most famous the 396th U.S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band and the band leader James Reese Europe. Enjoy!

Remember – “I have come from France more firmly convinced than ever that Negros should write Negro music. We have our own racial feeling and if we try to copy whites we will make bad copies…We won France by playing music which was ours and not a pale imitation of others, and if we are to develop in America we must develop along our own lines.” – James Reese Europe

Today in our History – November 11, 1918 – World War I Ends (Armistice Day)

James Reese Europe, one of the first African Americans to record music in the United States, was born on February 22, 1881 in Mobile, Alabama to Henry and Lorraine Europe. When he was ten, his family moved to Washington D.C. where he began to study violin with Enrico Hurlei, the assistant director of the Marine Corps Band. In 1904, Reese moved to New York to continue his musical studies.

In 1910, Europe founded one of the most well-known African American organizations during that time, The Clef Club, a part union and part fraternal organization which owned a building on West 53rd Street. Europe was the Clef Club’s first elected president as well as the conductor of its symphony orchestra. The Clef Club Orchestra appeared at Carnegie Hall for the first time on May 2, 1912 and later in 1913 and 1914.

The Carnegie Hall concerts gave the Clef Club Orchestra respectability in upper class circles and as a result, they were engaged to play at many of the most elite functions in New York, London (UK), Paris (France), and on yachts traveling worldwide. The Orchestra generated over $100,000 in bookings during the period. In 1913 Europe also made the first of a series of phonograph records for the Victor Talking Machine Company.

At the beginning of World War I, Reese joined New York Army National Guard as a private but shortly after passing the officer’s exam was commissioned as a Lieutenant. He was assigned to the all-black 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment. When his musical background became known he was asked by his commanding officer, Colonel William Hayward, to form a military band as part of his combat unit. Hayward told Europe to get musicians wherever he could, and Reese did just that.

Europe knew that it would be difficult to convince musicians in New York to enlist in the military to play music, so he went as far as traveling to Puerto Rico to recruit the needed musicians for his band. His band became known as the 396th U.S. Infantry “Hell Fighters” Band.

The Hell Fighters Band entertained troops and citizens in every city they visited and was received with great enthusiasm. He was sent from the front to lead his band at an Allied conference in Paris where they were only supposed to play one concert. The crowd’s reaction was so great that both American and French officials asked them to stay to perform for eight more weeks.

Europe and his band returned to New York on February 12, 1919. Soon after, they began a tour of American cities and started recording their songs in the studio. Through his music, Europe brought ragtime out of the bordellos and juke joints into mainstream society and elevated African American music into an accepted art form. He was a household name in New York’s music world and on the dance scene nationwide.

On the final performance of the band’s American tour, Herbert Wright, one of the “percussion twins,” became angered with Europe and attacked him with a knife during intermission. Europe did not survive the attack and Europe was buried with military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. Research more about blacks during WWI and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

June 5 1783- Oliver Cromwell

GM – FBF – Today I travel back to my family and friends in Central N.J. for they can go visit this place in Burlington. The story of this great American Revolutionary fighter. Or reach out to our TCHS Brother Algernon Ward Jr.who does a lot of historical reenactments. This patriot served with General George Washington and was on the boat that crossed the Delaware River on that cold Christmas night to take the City of Trenton back from the “Red Coats” hands. Enjoy!

Remember – “No one battle or war will give all negro’s their freedom but if we start now to show that we are Americans, I know that day will come.” – Oliver Cromwell

Today in our History – June 5, 1783

Oliver Cromwell, soldier in the Revolutionary War, receives an honorable discharge and the Badge of Merit from George Washington.

Oliver Cromwell was no ordinary soldier of the American Revolution. This military hero’s discharge was signed by General George Washington “stating that he was entitled to wear the badges of honor by reason of his honorable services.”

Cromwell’s story first appeared in a newspaper interview conducted when he was 100 years old by a reporter of the Burlington Gazette (Burlington, New Jersey) in 1905, which was reprinted by the Trenton Evening Times. As the newspaper article noted: “though feeble, his lips trembling at every word, when he spoke of [General George] Washington his eyes sparkled with enthusiasm.”

The archive of old newspapers in GenealogyBank is packed with thousands of these firsthand accounts of military service in the Revolutionary War, adding a personal touch to the facts of many of these early American military battles.

In that 1905 interview, Cromwell told of his Revolutionary War service crossing the Delaware “with his beloved commander…on the memorable Christmas night [in] 1776.”

The old newspaper article adds that Cromwell: “took part in the battle of Trenton, and helped to ‘knock the British about lively at Princeton.’ He also fought at the Revolutionary War battles of Short Hills, Brandywine, Monmouth and Springfield, where he was severely wounded, and saw the last man killed at York town.”

A few days after Cromwell’s death, the local Burlington Gazette published an editorial calling for the erection of a monument in honor of the Revolutionary War hero.

“And thus, one by one, the men who purchased with their blood the liberty we now enjoy, are going off the stage…We suggest whether it would not be proper to erect some suitable monument over his grave…it will be pleasant to know that the people of Burlington felt sufficient interest in him, to mark the spot where his ashes are buried.”

The reprint in the Trenton Evening Times notes: “Unfortunately no such monument was ever erected and there is nothing to indicate the last resting place of Oliver Cromwell.”

Oliver Cromwell lived in a different time and place, and life was more difficult than it would have been for him now. He was African American, one of the many that served in the American Revolution. Though honored by General Washington, his pension was revoked by a local pension agent. “Tears fell from his eyes when he told of his discharge being taken from him by the pension agent.”

In 1984, a plaque was placed on the property where his home once stood.His grave has been located in the cemetery at Broad Street Methodist Church in Burlington, New Jersey. The local historical society was named in his honor in 1983.

Oliver Cromwell (1752-1853), one of “the men who purchased with their blood the liberty we now enjoy,” was “respected by our citizens” then and remembered to this day. Research more about the blacks who fought in the American Revolution and share wit your babies. Make it a champion day!

April 21, 1985- Sherian Grace Cadoria

GM- FBF – “Deal with yourself as an individual worthy of respect, and make everyone else deal with you the same way.” – Nikki Giovanni

Remember – “It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.” – Lena Horne

Today in our History – April 21,1985 – The first Black Woman Brigadier General. Brigadier General Sherian Grace Cadoria was born January 26, 1943 in Marksville, Louisiana. A retired United States Army officer and the first African American female to achieve the rank of General in the Army, Cadoria was also the highest-ranking female in the army at the time of her retirement. After a distinguished 29-year military career, Cadoria retired as Brigadier General in 1990.

Majoring in Business Education, Cadoria attended Southern University Baton Rouge, and was selected by the Women’s Army Corps to represent the university at the College Junior program in her junior year. Cadoria spent four weeks at Fort McClellan in Alabama in the summer of 1960, experiencing firsthand the life of an enlisted soldier. Following her studies at SU, she enlisted and received her commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps.

When training in Fort McClellan, Cadoria encountered the first of her many obstacles due to her gender and race. In an interview with Essence Magazine in April of 1990, she recalled, “When I started in the Army in 1961, there were jobs a black, by unwritten code, could not do.” said Cadoria. “I can never foget that the coveted position of Platoon Leader… was denied me because a black could not carry out all the duties the job entailed. Specifically, in Anniston, Alabama, a black could not take the troops off the installation because of Jim Crow laws.” Cadoria finished.

On April 21,1985, Cadoria was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General, and later became the first black female director of Joint Chiefs of Staff. Regarding her status as a black female in what was a predominantly white male community, Cadoria was quoted saying, “I’ve gotten more pressure from being female in a man’s world, than from being black. I was always a role model. I had responsibility not just for black women, but black men as well.”

Cadoria has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Black Business and Professional Women, and has received the NAACP’s Roy Wilkens Meritorious Service Award and the National Athena Award. On November 11, 2002, she became the first woman and the first African American inducted into the Louisiana Veterans Hall of Honor. Additionally, Cadoria is a member of the Louisiana Black History Hall of Fame and the Louisiana Justice Hall of Fame. Research more about black woman in the milatrary and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

February 19, 1942 – Tuskegee Airman

GM – FBF – The four elements: earth, air, water, and fire. Of these, I call your attention to two: air and fire. Though it is your privilege to live in the air, you will die by fire.

Remember – We did more in the air before breakfast than a whole lot of other airmen – Lt. Daniel “Chappie” James.

Today in our History – *On this date in 1942, the Tuskegee Airmen were initiated into the armed forces.

The Tuskegee Airmen were Black servicemen of the U. S. Army Air Forces who trained at Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama during World War II. They constituted the first African-American flying unit in the U. S. military. In response to pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Black press, and others, the War Department in January 1941 formed the all-Black 99th Pursuit Squadron of the U. S. Army Air Corps (later the U. S. Army Air Forces), to be trained using single-engine planes at the segregated Tuskegee Army Air Field at Tuskegee, Ala.

The base opened on July 19, and the first class graduated the following March. Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Oliver Davis, Jr., became the squadron’s commander. The Tuskegee Airmen received further training in French Morocco, before their first mission, on June 2, 1943, a strafing attack on Pantelleria Island, an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. Later that year the Army activated three more squadrons that, joined in 1944 by the 99th, constituted the 332nd Fighter Group. It fought in the European theatre and was noted as the Army Air Forces’ only escort group that did not lose a bomber to enemy planes.

The Tuskegee airfield program expanded to train pilots and crew to operate two-engine B-25 medium bombers. These men became part of the second Black flying group, the 477th Bombardment Group. Shortages of crew-members, technicians, and equipment troubled the 477th, and before it could be deployed overseas, World War II ended. Altogether 992 pilots graduated from the Tuskegee airfield courses; they flew 1,578 missions and 15,533 sorties, destroyed 261 enemy aircraft, and won over 850 medals. The American army’s 100th pursuit squadron a group of Black aviators fought valiantly over Britain and other European countries.

Tuskegee Institutes Daniel “Chappie” James Memorial Hall houses the Black Wings aviation exhibit, which focuses on the Tuskegee Airmen, who trained near Tuskegee during World War II. Research more about the Tuskegee Airmen and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 27 1861- Martin R. Delany

GM-FBF – You have to choose your path.
You have to decide what you wish to do.
You are the only person that can determine your destiny.

Remember – “Every people should be originators of their own destiny.” Major Martin Robertson Delany

Today in our History – January 27, 1861 – Martin R. Delany (May 6, 1812 – January 24, 1885) was the first African-American commissioned as a major in the Army. The soldier was also a writer, editor, abolitionist, Harvard medical student, physician and judge.

As the bicentennial birthday of Delany approaches, historians want the nationalist to be recognized as a man who shaped history. Martin Delany believed that ‘every person should be the originator of their own destiny.’ He was so fed up with American slavery and segregation that he negotiated a treaty with rulers in West Africa to allow the creation of a new black settlement.

The Charleston, Virginia native was born to a free mother and slave father who risked their lives to educate their children. With his future ahead of him, Martin Delany studied medicine as an apprentice and opened a medical practice that specialized in cupping and leeching.

In 1839, Delany toured slave country to observe the racism endured by his enslaved brothers and sisters. A few years later, Martin Delany joined the fight of Frederick Douglass through literature by publishing a newspaper in Pittsburgh called “The Mystery” then joined Douglass’ North Star publication in Rochester.

By 1850, Delany successfully entered Harvard Medical School to continue his studies. However, he was booted out of the program after three weeks when white students petitioned for his removal. Angered by the discrimination, Delany recorded his frustration in another publication that insisted blacks immigrate to Africa for justice. In 1859, Martin Delany led a commission on a site visit to West Africa, looking for the best location for a new black nation along the Niger River.

Delany’s next effort would be through the Union Army in the Civil War. In 1861, he returned to the U.S. and recruited thousands of blacks to serve in the Union. Four years later he met with President Lincoln and got approval to create an all-black Corps led by African-American officers. He was commissioned a Major in the 52nd U.S. Colored Troops Regiment and became the first line officer in U.S. Army history. His next stop was to run for Republican office. Delany ran for Lt. Governor against Richard Howell Gleaves. In 1874, Delany lost the election to Gleaves. Research more about this great American and share it with your babies. Make it a champion day!

January 17 1984- Bobby Goodman

GM -FBF – To be in one’s shoes when they are away from this country and with help can bring them back safely.

Remember – I am so thankful to my God through Jesus Christ and your prayers allowed Reverend Jackson to get me out of here. – Bobby Goodman

Today in our History – January 17, 1984 – Retired U.S. Navy pilot Bobby Goodman was part of a historic moment on this day in 1984. After his plane was shot down over Lebanon and a subsequent capture by Syrian forces, Rev. Jesse Jackson and others helped negotiate Goodman’s release.

Tensions in the region were high as a result of the Lebanese Civil War. Two fighter jets were fired upon from Beirut, prompting U.S. forces to respond with a bombing mission. Goodman and fellow Lt. Mark Lange piloted a bomber plane that was struck down by missiles. In the ejection descent, both men were injured but only Goodman survived. Syrian troops and Lebanese civilians held Goodman captive before he was shipped to Damascus.

Goodman’s capture made international news and his mother made public pleas for his freedom. Rev. Jackson, who was in the midst of attempting to secure the Democratic Party nomination for president, rallied other faith leaders to join a delegation that traveled to Syria to meet with President Hafez al-Assad.

Jackson gathered the likes of Min. Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Rev. Wyatt T. Walker and many others for the peace mission. After the group met on January 2, Goodman was freed the next day.

Rev. Jackson and Goodman traveled home immediately and met with President Ronald Reagan, who first criticized Jackson’s involvement in the negotiations. Some experts say that Jackson, being somewhat neutral as a man of the cloth, may have been the right person for the job considering Reagan was an unpopular figure in Syria.

Goodman continued to serve, flying in bombing missions during the Gulf War before retiring at the rank of commander in 1995. He and Jackson reunited in 2014 for the first time since their stirring first encounter. Research more about this great American and share with your babies. Make it a champion day!