Tag: Kansas

U.S. Armed Forces All-female African American WWII Unit Honored with Monument at Fort Leavenworth

6888th Postal Battalion (photo via radio.com)

by Kaylah Jackson via radio.com

The contributions of over 800 African American women who sorted mail in a segregated unit during WWII were recognized last month in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with a monument erected in their honor.

“No mail, no morale,” was the motto of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the U.S. Army’s only all-African American and all-female unit during the Second World War.

Often referred to as the “Six-Triple-Eight,” the unit was made of up 824 enlisted and 31 officer women, who were originally from the Women’s Army Corps, Army Service Forces and Army Air Forces.

(Photo courtesy of Women of 6888th)

While many African American nurses served overseas in combat zones, WAC units remained separated and women of color were only allowed to serve overseas depending on the “needs of the Army.” The military faced pressure for African Americans WACs to serve in overseas components and eventually a request for 800 women to serve in the European Theatre was approved.

In 1945, warehouses and Red Cross workers in England became overwhelmed with a backlog of mail and packages addressed to U.S. service members. The hundreds of women who eventually made up the 6888th were selected to train for this exact mission.

Under the direction of Lt. Col Charity Edna Adams, the women traveled to Camp Shanks, New York after enduring boot camp, and eventually arriving in Birmingham, England, in 1945. Upon arrival to Europe, the women were welcome to a dimly lit and rat-infested warehouse with mail stacked to the ceilings.

Of the over 800 servicewomen, five were present at their monument dedication ceremony at Fort Leavenworth.

6888 Battalion Monument (Photo courtesy of George Marcec)

“Servicemen want their mail. That’s a morale booster,” Lena King told KCTV.  Now 95-years-old, then Corporal King worked among other women in the warehouse identifying miswritten pieces of mail and ensuring the men fighting received letters from their loved ones.

By dividing their work in shifts that ran 365 days a week, the women processed an average of 65,000 pieces of mail per shift, clearing the previous six-month backlog of letters in just three months.

(Photo courtesy of George Marcec)

Designed by sculptor Eddie Dixon, the monument features all of the names of the women of the Six-Triple-Eight, a bust of Lt. Col Adams and iconic photos highlighting the unit’s mission.

The monument sits near a series of other historical tributes on Fort Leavenworth. From honoring the first African American West Point graduate to the first African American four-star general, this monument will be another addition highlighting the “firsts” of our nation’s history at war.

Source: https://connectingvets.radio.com/articles/6888th-central-postal-directory-battalion-receives-monument-fort-leavenworth?fbclid=IwAR23Ae4QeZECbojxZvVOyPMVIjURCO9z3Uc4GqS4GPulDlmCwoukLX709mk

Buffalo Soldiers of U.S. Armed Forces Honored by CA State Senate at Capitol Ceremony & Reception

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Buffalo Soldiers representative with CA State Senator Tony Mendoza (photo courtesy http://sd32.senate.ca.gov)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Sacramento – To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Buffalo Soldiers, an historic group of African American service members, California State Senator Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia) and State Senator Isadore Hall III (D–Compton), Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, hosted a reception on June 6th in the State Capitol and presented Senate Concurrent Resolution 128, which recognizes the Soldiers for their unique contributions to the United States and its military.

“I am honored to recognize the great accomplishments and service of the Buffalo Soldiers. These men made history by breaking barriers and serving our country with honor and distinction during war and peacetime under tremendously challenging circumstances,” said Senator Tony Mendoza.

The Buffalo Soldiers were established on July 28, 1866 by an Act of Congress. It was officially known as the 9th and 10th Calvary regiment and was comprised of former slaves, free men, and black Civil War soldiers. The Buffalo Soldiers were the first African Americans to serve in the United States Army during peacetime.

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Homeless Kansas Man Joshua Woods Beats the Odds and Graduates College

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Joshua Woods (photos via fox5atlanta.com)

A Kansas man overcame the odds to graduate college.

Joshua Woods said he never believed he would attain his dreams, but that all changed when he graduated from Wichita State in December. That’s because Woods was homeless and lived on his sister’s floor.

Woods’ parents had both died and he was ready to give up. Instead, he used his last $30 to apply to Wichita State and was accepted.  “I was disappointed. Mostly in myself but also at life. I felt like I wasn’t dealt a good hand to begin with. I was in foster care. My father passed away when I was 16. I was the only kid on my block with no guardian.”

He worked his way through college, which included working overnight at a grocery store. In the mornings, he would run five miles to school because he had no vehicle.  “It was hard to hold my tears as I walked across that stage,” Woods said. “To be considered stupid all your life and you graduate from college with a bachelor’s degree… I don’t know about anyone else, but it was a triumph for me.”

Woods graduated with a communications degree and hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

article via fox5atlanta.com