Today, we are look back at Episode #485, which features James Jones of Laurel discussing his time with the 761st Tank Battalion during WWII.
The 761st Tank Battalion was the first armored combat group made up of African American soldiers. Prior to this time, black men rarely served in combat roles in the U.S. Military and were generally relegated to menial labor jobs like stevedores. After being given the opportunity to serve under General George S. Patton in the European Theater, the 761st distinguished themselves as a brave and effective combat force in face of enemy fire.
Joining me for the interview today is Dr. Douglas Bristol.
Douglas Bristol, Jr. is the Buford “Buff” Blount Professor of Military History and a Fellow of the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society at the University of Southern Mississippi. The Smithsonian, Duke University, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library have awarded him post-doctoral fellowships. He is a member of the Editorial Board for the Quarterly Journal of the Army War College, Parameters. He has published two books: Knights of the Razor: Black Barbers in Slavery and Freedom and Integrating the U.S. Military: Race, Gender, and Sexuality since World War II. His current book project is War as Labor: Black GIs in Army Service Forces during World War II. His interviews have been included in the Christian Science Monitor and the New York Times along with the PBS documentary Boss: The Black Experience in Business
Today, we look back at Episode #475, featuring an interview with Roscoe Jones Vol. 740, conducted on May 9, 1997 and first aired in February 2016.
Jones's memories of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner are riveting because according to Jones, he had planned on going to Neshoba County that fateful day.
For anyone not familiar with the story: Civil Rights Activists James Chaney from Meridian, MS, along with Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner from New York City were abducted and murdered on June 21, 1964 while investigating a church burning in the city of Philadelphia, MS.
Joining me for the interview today via Zoom, is Olivia Moore. Olivia, a doctoral candidate in history, is currently working on a dissertation that explores the fractures that developed between civil rights leaders in Hattiesburg throughout the 1960s. Olivia received her BA in History and Politics from the University of Exeter in 2014, and her MA in History from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2016. She has since been awarded a Graduate Certificate in Public History, and was the 2019-2020 recipient of the Baird Fellowship. More recently, Olivia worked on a collaborative project with L.J. Rowan High School’s Class of 1968 that resulted in the publishing of the book, The Class of 1968: A Thread Through Time. Her research interests include race, gender, oral history, and the memory of the civil rights movement.
February is Black History Month and today we are looking back at Episode number 471, featuring an interview of Hattiesburg native and Civil Rights activist, Doug Smith. Smith was present for several key events in the Movement including the March on Washington in August of 1963, and Hattiesburg Freedom Day in January of 1964 which kicked off Freedom Summer that year. Doug Smith was also active in a series of voter registration drives which led to greater participation in voting by black citizens from across the state. His activities also led to his being arrested some 32 times by his count.
Joining me for the interview today is Dr. Kevin Greene.
Kevin is an associate professor of history in the School of Humanities at the University of Southern Mississippi, where he is the Director of the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, and a fellow in the Dale Center for the Study of War and Society. He teaches courses in Oral History, American history, African American history, Urban history, World history, Research Methodology, and Cultural History. He is the author of The Invention and Reinvention of Big Bill Broonzy, a cultural and intellectual examination of William “Big Bill” Broonzy with the University of North Carolina Press for their catalog in African American Studies.
We will be discussing the March on Washington, the 1964 Hattiesburg Freedom Day, and how local law enforcement was used to suppress desegregation efforts.