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Oral history.; Edward Boggs was born in Gulfport, Mississippi, on December 25, 1938. He attended Thirty-third Avenue Elementary School and High School; he attended one year at Dillard University and then transferred to Mississippi Valley State University where he earned his B.S. degree. From 1963 to 1966, he served in the United States Army. After his military service, Mr. Boggs worked for the United States Postal Service for twenty-nine years where he was a postal clerk in finance, a postal systems examiner and director of finance.

2003-04-24

Oral history.; Interview conducted on August 6, 2003. Born in December of 1922 in Orange, New Jersey, Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts grew up about twenty-five miles west of New York City. Colonel Roberts attended Howard University, received his bachelor of science degree from Morningside College, and received his master's degree from Tuskegee Institute. He entered the United States Army Air Corps as a private, and he retired from the United States Air Force as a colonel. He was a graduate of the Forty-four K class of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen. His first assignment was the pilot training program at Tuskegee Army Airfield where he graduated as a second lieutenant and was assigned to the 477th Medium Bombardment Group and later the 332d Fighter Wing. Among the nineteen service medals and awards received during his service career are the Legion of Merit with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the United States Force Commendation Medal, and the Distinguished Service Order and Air Service Medal received from the Republic of Vietnam. Colonel Roberts served in numerous flying, technical and command assignments in the continental United States and Japan, Canada, Turkey, and Vietnam. This service included duty as a jet fighter pilot in the Air Defense Command and as a flight instructor at the fighter school at Williams Air Force Base, Ground Electronics Officer in Japan and Canada, Chief of Ground Communication-Electronics and Meteorological Maintenance at an Air Division Headquarters, Department Chief for Ground Electronics and Officer Training at Keesler Air Force Base, Commander of a NATO communications organization and Chief Communications- Electronics and Logistics Advisor to the Vietnamese Air Force Headquarters, and Commander of the Maintenance and Supply Group at Keesler Air Force Base. After retirement from the United States Air Force, he worked for Global Associates at the National Space Technology Laboratories. Colonel Roberts was very involved both in his church and in his community. He was a former member and vice moderator of the General Assembly Council, Presbyterian Church USA; former member and chair of the council of the Presbytery of Mississippi; and an elder, First Presbyterian Church, USA, of Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. Colonel Roberts' community activities include being a member of the board of trustees, Leadership Gulf Coast, former member and chair of the board of trustees for Pass Christian School District; former member and chair of the executive board of the Mississippi School Boards Association; former member and chair of the southern region of the School Boards Association; and director of the Genesis Foundation. On Tuesday, October 12, 2004, Colonel Lawrence E. Roberts, USAF, Retired, died in Biloxi, Mississippi, at eighty-one years of age. He had been a resident of the Mississippi Gulf Coast for thirty-five years, living in Pass Christian and Biloxi.

2003-08-06

Oral history.; Eugene Lawrence Christy was born in 1930, in Gulfport, Mississippi. Christy graduated from Thirty-third Avenue High School. In 1951 he was drafted into the military during the Korean War. Upon returning home he began working at the Veterans Administration Hospital in dietetics. In 1961, he was called up from reserve status at the time of the Berlin crisis. In 1983, after serving thirty-two years, he retired from the military as a first sergeant. After thirty-six years at his second career as a nurse's aide at both the Biloxi and the Gulfport VA Hospitals, Mr. Christy retired.

2003-03-18

Oral history.; Born in 1921, in Pass Christian, Mississippi, Bidwell Barnes left school at age fourteen to help support his family. From 1940 to 1942, Mr. Barnes served in the Civilian Conservation Corps; in 1942 he was drafted into the United States Army for deployment in World War II. In 1951 he also served in the Korean war. In 1977, Mr. Bames retired from Keesler Air Force Base where he had worked in the civil service.

2003-03-04

Oral history.; Clifton Thomas was born in Forest, Mississippi in 1920. Mr. Thomas attended rural school at the Crudup Bottom School. In the late 1930s, Mr. Thomas joined the Civilian Conservation Corps preventing and fighting forest fires. After leaving the CCC, Mr. Thomas moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and worked for the Armor Company and the Merchant's Company. In 1943, he was drafted into World War II, serving in the Pacific. He returned to civilian life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and again worked for the Merchant Company as a truck driver. He went to school on the GI bill, eighteen months at the Coast Cooking and Baking School in Biloxi, and sixteen months to the Mississippi School of Business. In 1984 Mr. Thomas retired from the Merchant's Company.

2003-03-06

Oral history.; Transcript of a collection of interviews with African Americans of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, circa twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, who knew Colonel John Robinson, an African American pilot who was tapped by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Sellassie in the days leading up to World War II to organize and lead the Ethiopian Air Force against the invading Italian Fascists, including biographical information about Robinson. Interviewees also recall their experiences of living in the South when it was racially segregated and after desegregation began to gain ground. Born on June 18, 1926, in Bernice, Louisiana, Reverend Nathan Walker Jr. was the son of Mr. Nathan Walker Sr., a farmer and timber man, and Mrs. Eula Payne Walker, a teacher. As a child, Reverend Walker was responsible for farm chores both before and after school, and he helped his father cut timber and hew crossties. During the Depression, Reverend Walker's father worked for the Works Progress Administration. In 1944, Reverend Walker volunteered for the Marine Corps, went through basic training, and served in Guam, guarding Japanese prisoners, until the end of World War II. On January 29, 1960, Reverend Walker was married to Mrs. Dorothy Liggins Walker. Reverend Walker earned a B.S. at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and he taught school in Louisiana. He earned a B.Th. from Mississippi Baptist Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, and he became a minister in 1957. In 1959, he became the pastor of First Colored Baptist Church, later known as First Missionary Baptist Church, where he served until 1980. During the 1960s,Reverend Walker attended Jefferson Davis Junior College, helping desegregate that institution. He earned an M. Ed. and Ed.D. from The University of Southern Mississippi, and from Mississippi Baptist Seminary, he was awarded an honorary doctorate. From 1959 through 2002, Reverend Walker was a pastor in Pass Christian and Gulfport, Mississippi. He has been both a teacher and administrator. From 1955 through 1982, he taught at Keesler Tech School. He has been a teacher and administrative dean at the Mississippi Baptist Seminary, Gulfport Extension Center. At the time of this interview, Reverend Walker was retired from government civil service and from the ministry. His hobbies include gardening, reading, biblical research, and serving on the Gulfport School Board. At the time of this interview, Reverend Walker was a member of the Gulfport Rotary Club, Phi Delta Kappa Educational Organization, Gulfport Chapter of the NAACP, AARP, Gulf Coast Ministerial Association, and NBCA Congress of Christian Workers. In 2001, the Gulfport Rotary Club awarded him with the Citizen of the Year Award; in 1999, he was awarded the NAACP Pastor's Award. And in 2000, he was awarded the Mississippi Baptist Seminary Alumni of the Year Award.

2003-04-01

Oral history.; Born in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1932, Alfred Brown attended Thirty-third Avenue High School from which he graduated. He was drafted into the United States Army during the Korean Conflict, and he served for one year and nine months. He earned his B.S. degree at Howard University and completed some postgraduate work there. In 1960, Mr. Brown taught at Coleman High School in Greenville, Mississippi; from 1961 to 1965 he was a bell captain at Sun and Sand in Jackson, Mississippi; from 1965 to 1973, he was a Manpower specialist and counselor for Star, Inc., and he has been self-employed since 1969 in his business A and B Construction.

2003-03-14

Oral History.; Interview conducted on March 4, 2003. Born on April 1, 1916, in Grove Hill, Alabama, Clark County, Mrs. Gaynette Cox Flowers Pugh was one of seven children born to Mr. George Cox Sr. and Mrs. Susie Alma Dickinson. When her mother was twenty-five years old, she died, and Mrs. Pugh and her siblings were reared by their grandmother and grandfather. As Mrs. Pugh grew up during the Depression, her grandmother was a schoolteacher, and her grandfather was a farmer, a blacksmith, and a saw mill worker. Mrs. Pugh began her education at a Rosenwald School in Alabama. Her education was interrupted when her grandmother became ill, and Mrs. Pugh cared for her. After her grandmother died, Mrs. Pugh returned to school, and she was graduated from Thirty-third Avenue High School in Gulfport, Mississippi. When she was nineteen years old, on November 30, 1937, she married Charles B. Flowers Sr. In 1947, that marriage ended in divorce, and on June 1, 1968, she married Richard Pugh. In 1966, Mrs. Pugh was employed by the Child Development Group of Mississippi as Field Program Advisor; she organized employees and supervised their teaching activities. She attended school in Alabama, and on May 29, 1977, she was graduated from Bishop State Junior College in Mobile, Alabama. On June 7, 1981, she was graduated from the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama. As a volunteer, she has tutored children in kindergarten through third grade, and she has served as a guidance counselor to teenagers in North Gulfport. She is a member of Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church, where she has been a Sunday school teacher, a choir member, and a youth director. She has served as secretary of the Gulfport branch of the NAACP and also of the Mobile, Alabama, branch where she has been a member of the executive board.

2003-03-04

Oral history.; Transcript of interview with Bessie Mae Peters Randall conducted on April 8, 2003. Bessie Randall was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. At age six she moved to Gulfport, where she was educated. She considered becoming a beautician, but opted instead to be a teacher. Randall was active in her church, Saint James, attending services and singing in the choir.

2003-04-08

Oral history.; Celestine Labat graduated from high school in Indianapolis, Indiana as there were no high schools for black students in 1918 in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. One of thirteen children of a Catholic French Creole family, she became a teacher and later did office work at St. Augustine Seminary in Bay St. Louis.

2002-05-15; 2002-07-22

Oral history.; Clifton Thomas was born in Forest, Mississippi in 1920. Mr. Thomas attended rural school at the Crudup Bottom School. In the late 1930s, Mr. Thomas joined the Civilian Conservation Corps preventing and fighting forest fires. After leaving the CCC, Mr. Thomas moved to Gulfport, Mississippi, and worked for the Armor Company and the Merchant's Company. In 1943, he was drafted into World War II, serving in the Pacific. He returned to civilian life on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and again worked for the Merchant Company as a truck driver. He went to school on the GI bill, eighteen months at the Coast Cooking and Baking School in Biloxi, and sixteen months to the Mississippi School of Business. In 1984 Mr. Thomas retired from the Merchant's Company.

2003-03-06

Oral history.; Horace Tate Jr. was born in 1934 in Gulfport, Mississippi. In 1953, he graduated from Thirty-third Avenue High School, and attended Jackson State University from which he graduated with a B.S. in 1957. He was drafted into the Army in 1958, and after completing his military duty, he returned to Gulfport to teach at Thirty-third Avenue High School. For thirty-seven years, he taught on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, during segregation, during the transition into integrated schools, and after schools had become fully integrated. Mr. Tate earned his M.S. at Jackson State University. In 1977, he became assistant principal at Central Junior High School, where he served until his retirement in 1996.

2003-03-18

Oral history.; Willie Mae Merrell grew up in rural Liberty, Mississippi and moved to Gulfport in 1935 to complete high school at Thirty-third Avenue High School. After raising 14 children she returned to her education and graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1973. She went on to work for the Harrison County Gulf Coast Mental Health Center and also served as the first African American member of the Gulfport School Board.

2003-07-30

Oral history.; Jimmie Jenkins was born in 1937, in DeRidder, Louisiana, and his family moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast in 1941. In 1954, he graduated from Turkey Creek High School. After serving three years in the United States Army, Mr. Jenkins held several jobs, as he had done throughout his school years. He worked for Anchor Glass from which he retired after thirty years. Mr. Jenkins has held several civic leadership positions. He is active in various churches and professional organizations as well.

2003-04-02

Oral history.; John D. Dean was born in 1916, in Bond, Mississippi. His family moved to Gulfport during the Depression. At the age of sixteen, Mr. Dean began working for $1 a day cutting paper wood to help support his family. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Mr. Dean registered for the draft, and he was called up to service in 1942. He was shipped to Europe in the 953rd Quartermasters. During the war, Mr. Dean worked as a cook in the United States Army. After his discharge from the Army, Mr. Dean returned to Mississippi. Mr. Dean was hired as a janitor at Scott Field Air Base. He was promoted to a supervisory position, transferred to Keesler Air Force Base, and retired in 1981.

2003-03-05

Oral history.; Born in Louisiana in 1924 Walter Walker worked in construction, farming, in seafood factories, and on the railroad. In 1933 he moved to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Later Mr. Walker worked as a home builder, and in the kitchen and patient wards at the Veterans Administration Hospital, in radio and television repair, as a truck driver and as a refrigeration and air conditioner repairman. During World War II, Mr. Walker served in the United States Army in the Pacific.

2002-05-03

Oral history.; Horace Tate Jr. was born in 1934 in Gulfport, Mississippi. In 1953, he graduated from Thirty-third Avenue High School, and attended Jackson State University from which he graduated with a B.S. in 1957. He was drafted into the Army in 1958, and after completing his military duty, he returned to Gulfport to teach at Thirty-third Avenue High School. For thirty-seven years, he taught on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, during segregation, during the transition into integrated schools, and after schools had become fully integrated. Mr. Tate earned his M.S. at Jackson State University. In 1977, he became assistant principal at Central Junior High School, where he served until his retirement in 1996.

2003-03-18

Oral history.; Born on September 19, 1936, in Tallahassee, Florida, Thomas E. Simmons grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He attended school there until he was a senior in high school at which time he transferred to Marion Military Institute from which he was graduated. Simmons attended the United States Naval Academy for one year, then transferred to the University of Alabama from which he was graduated. When he was sixteen years old, Mr. Simmons learned to fly, realizing a lifelong dream and since then accumulating over 3000 hours in the air. He has flown professionally and participated in air shows flying aerobatics in open-cockpit biplanes. He has completed both undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Southern Mississippi, and he has attended various continuing education seminars related to finance, import/export, ports, management, marketing, business communications, business law, and real estate. In 1958, Mr. Simmons was the captain of the sailing vessel Barcavella, owned by the Curtis H. Stout Company. From 1959 to 1961, he was an officer on active duty in the United States Army Artillery and spent thirteen months in Korea; he spent five years in the reserves and was honorably discharged in 1966 at the rank of captain. From 1962 to 1979 he was a self-employed businessman. From 1980 to 1988, he was a sales engineer at PACECO, a world leader in the manufacture of ship-to-shore and yard gantry container-handling cranes. From 1989 to 1999, he was the manager of GTA, Inc., an engineering consulting firm specializing in port container and material-handling equipment worldwide. At the time of this interview, Mr. Simmons was an independent port consultant, a real estate broker, and a part-time commercial pilot for the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. At the time of this interview, Mr. Simmons was the author of three books, The Brown Condor, Escape from Archangel, and Forgotten Heroes of World War II. He has also written numerous magazine articles, including "Growing Up with Mr. Faulkner" published in The Oxford American, a literary magazine founded by John Grisham. Mr. Simmons has served on the board of directors of the Gulfport Chamber of Commerce. In 1958, he married Ms. Katherine Bounds.

2003-07-08

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