In the frosty Georgia winter of 1943-44, soldiers and officer candidates traveling to and from Fort Benning often saw the sky filled with white parachutes. Most of them assumed that the faces beneath the chutes were also white. The black soldiers they knew drove their trucks, waited on them in mess halls, or hauled their ammunition; they rode in the back of the bus to and from Columbus; they gathered at their own separate clubs on the fort. Some of the faces beneath those chutes, however, were black. As such they were also pioneers, blazing new trails for countless black soldiers to follow. It wasn't easy. A proud black lieutenant, sergeant, or private, with polished boots and paratrooper wings, still had to use the "colored" toilets and drinking fountains in the rail-road stations, sit in segregated sections of theatres, and go out of his way to avoid confrontations with racist police. Black officers continued to find post officers' club closed to them. But they endured, and proved themselves as airborne troopers--"as fine a group of soldiers as I have ever seen," in the words of the notoriously fussy General Ben Lear.
SAMUEL COUNCIL CHAPTER© 2019
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Website Est: February 2, 2017