African American soldiers from the 1940's and 1950's celebrated - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

African American soldiers from the 1940's and 1950's celebrated

Ruford Whitiker Ruford Whitiker
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

In their finest Sunday attire...patriotic supporters packed the sanctuary of Greater Saint Mary's Baptist Church. They came to celebrate African American soldiers who helped make a change.

"We're gonna honor the men and women of the 1940's and the 1950's who served in the armed forces," said Reverend Rodney Lamar Atkins, who helped organize the event.

One of the soldiers honored was Ruford Whitiker. He joined the army in 1953...serving in the Korean War.

He spent most of his live living in racial segregation...but he says that began to change when he joined the army.

"All the soldiers were to be together. And, as we moved into Fort Bliss they separated us because of segregation. And, they had to let them know that we was all soldiers and we was going to be together from now on," said Whitiker.

He said on the battlefield, the lines of segregation dissolved.

"We all became one. And, if I couldn't eat...they didn't eat either," he said.

 

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