My very own home-grown observation of the 60th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the Armed Forces in July of 1948 ...
Jason Allen is a 21 year-old Floridian and a member of our large Allen clan. We've never actually met except through the magic of the Internet. He stumbled upon our website and in so doing connected with his ggrandfather's descendants (his ggfather, Louis Allen, was the youngest brother to my maternal grandfather, George Allen, Jr.). Can you imagine his surprise and delight?
When read alongside the entry below which describes the WWII wartime experiences of Fred Reid and my husband, Mel, it is possible to track social progress since desegregation took place in the Armed Forces to a snapshot of today's young fighting men and women. This is a dynamic time line that we are now beginning to revisit and honor.
26 July, 2008
Hey cousin, Betty!! How have you been doing? I hope your health is well. It's been a while since I last wrote, I know. I've just been tied up a lot (not literally) here in tech school. I'm still here in Gulfport, Mississippi. I'll be graduating in about 5 1/2 weeks -- on September 5th to be exact. That's when I will be a level 3 civil engineer! You gain higher levels by being in a particular field for a certain period of time. There's level 5, 7, and I think 9. Anyway, I enjoy doing what we do here. It's a little different because I'm on a Navy installation instead of an Air Force one. We work with both the Army and the Navy. So far we have done floor framing, wall and roof framing, exterior finishes, concrete work, stair construction. Right now we're doing some welding. We actually just finished our first welding project. First we drew layouts of an A/C duct system then we fabricated the sheet metal to assemble what we drew. After all that, we installed the mini duct system. I won't be stationed to Travis AFB like I wanted to. Instead I will be outside of Abilene, Texas, at Dress (sp?) AFB. I hope all is well with you and your side of the family. P.S.- I found out more info on the family history. I'll let you know what I have.
Now here's a proud young man who has found his calling in serving his country. What a contrast with the stories of the soldiers of 60 years ago.
He's a really handsome young cousin and I'm anxious to meet him one day. We had been hoping that he'd be stationed on the West Coast at some point, but that is not to be. Meanwhile, we all wish him well and hold him in our hearts for a good life and a safe return.
Photo: The photo of a reproduction of the 1964 Ebony magazine cover featuring Josephine Baker. This is of the cover of his little 4"x6" card.