Monday, February 27, 2006

ON MEETING GEN. DAVIS : “I AIN’T COLORED LIKE THE REST OF YOU FELLAS, I AM A DIFFERENT TYPE.”






MY GRANDFATHER ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS RECALLED TO ME THE STORY OF HOW HE GOT TO MEET GEN. BENJAMIN DAVIS, SR., THE FIRST BLACK GENERAL IN U.S. MILITARY HISTORY…IN 1940, HE WAS APPOINTED BRIGADIER GENERAL OF THE U.S. ARMY BY U.S. PRES. FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT…

THE APPOINTMENT WAS CONSIDERED AN UNPOPULAR MOVE BY MANY IN THE U.S. AND CREATED A LOT OF POLITICAL AND SOCIAL PROTEST AND CONTROVERSY FOR MANY WHITE AMERICANS…

HOWEVER TO MANY BLACK AMERICANS LIKE MY U.S. SOUTHERN BORNED AND RAISED GRANDFATHER , THEY SAW GEN. DAVIS AS A SOURCE OF PRIDE AND INSPIRATION AND A MIRACLE WHO WAS A BEAUTIFULLY FORMED ROSE THAT GREW OUT OF THE SEEMINGLY IMPENETRABLE CONCRETE OF UNITED STATES A.K.A. JIM CROW RACISM , INEQUALITY AND SEGREGATION…GEN. DAVIS WAS COLIN POWELL BEFORE THERE WAS A GEN. POWELL!!! 

BEFORE GEN. DAVIS WAS MADE A GENERAL HE OVERSAW THE NEW YORK 15TH NATIONAL GUARD UNIT IN HARLEM DURING THE 1930S…THE NEW YORK 15TH NATIONAL GUARD UNIT BY THAT TIME WAS KNOWN BY ITS LEGENDARY NICKNAME ‘THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS’, A NAME GIVEN TO THE ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE UNIT BY THE FRENCH BECAUSE THEY SERVED BRAVELY, PROUDLY AND FOUGHT FEROCIOUSLY IN WORLD WAR ONE , NEVER LOSING AN INCH OF GROUND OR FELLOW SOLDIER TO ENEMY CAPTURE…

A NATIVE OF WASHINGTON. D.C. , GEN. DAVIS WAS A CAREER SOLDIER’S SOLDIER SERVING HIS COUNTRY HONORABLY AND WITH DISTINCTION FOR SEVERAL DECADES AT HOME AND ABROAD…

GEN. DAVIS HAD A SON NAMED BENJAMIN DAVIS, JR. AND LIKE HIS NAMESAKE HE WAS AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE AS WELL…BENJAMIN DAVIS, JR. WAS JUST THE FOURTH BLACK GRADUATE OF WEST POINT AND THE FIRST BLACK GRADUATE OF THE 20TH CENTURY…HE WENT ON TO COMMAND THE ELITE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN, A LEGENDARY ALL BLACK AIRPLANE FIGHTER/ ESCORT SQUADRON WHICH NEVER LOST A BOMBER PLANE TO ENEMY FIRE DURING WORLD WAR TWO…

FOLLOWING IN HIS FATHER’S ENORMOUS FOOTSTEPS, DAVIS, JR. BECAME GENERAL DAVIS,JR., THE SECOND BLACK GENERAL IN U.S. MILITARY HISTORY AND THE FIRST BLACK GENERAL IN U.S. AIR FORCE MILITARY HISTORY…I GUESS GREATNESS MUST HAVE BEEN IN THE GENES!!!

ONE DAY, GEN. DAVIS, SR. CAME TO A BASE MY GRANDFATHER WAS STATIONED AT TO REVIEW THE TROOPS…MY GRANDFATHER AND OTHERS LIKE HIM MUST HAVE GOTTEN A THRILL OUTTA OF SEEING WHITE FOLKS, ESPECIALLY RACIST ONES, SALUTE A COLORED OR BLACK MAN BECAUSE HE WAS CONSIDERED THEIR SUPERIOR AND THEREFORE THEY WERE REQUIRED BY MILITARY LAW TO TREAT HIM AS SUCH AND EVEN CALL HIM ‘SIR’…YOU MUST REMEMBER THIS WAS AMAZING CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT IT WAS NORMAL AND ACCEPTED FOR A BLACK MAN TO BE CALLED ‘A BOY’ IN AMERICAN SOCIETY AT THAT TIME REGARDLESS OF HIS AGE OR ACCOMPLISHMENTS!!!

WHEN HE MADE HIS WAY TO THE BLACK TROOPS HE TOLD THEM WITHOUT HESITATION THAT HE WASN’T COLORED LIKE THEM AND THAT HE WAS A DIFFERENT TYPE OF COLORED…NO ONE SAID A WORD WHEN HE WAS INSPECTING THEM, BUT WHEN HE LEFT MANY OF THE BLACK SOLDIERS THAT WERE PRESENT DURING HIS TALK WERE VISIBLY UPSET AND ANGRY THAT HE WOULD SAY WHAT THEY CONSIDERED TO BE A VERY DETRIMENTAL AND HURTFUL REMARK…A FEW WERE EVEN CALLING GEN. DAVIS A SELL-OUT AND A UNCLE TOM…


HOWEVER, SOME OF THE SOLDIERS WHO WERE A LITTLE BIT QUICKER ON THEIR FEET IN TERMS OF WIT REASONED WITH THE OTHERS THAT MAYBE WHAT THE GENERAL MEANT WAS THAT HE WAS THE ONLY COLORED OR BLACK GENERAL IN THE U.S. ARMED FORCES WHICH IN TURN MADE HIM A DIFFERENT TYPE OF COLORED MAN, MEANING ONE WHO HAD GREATER MILITARY RANK AND AUTHORITY…MANY, NOT ALL, BLACK SOLDIERS ACCEPTED THIS INTERPRETATION OF THE COMMENT AND ONCE AGAIN PUT GEN. DAVIS BACK ON HIS HERO WORSHIP PEDAL…

LESSON: LOOK BEYOND THE WORDS, TRY TO READ WHAT WASN’T SAID INSTEAD OF WHAT WAS SAID!!!

1 comment:

Lady Hill said...

You're doin' it, man! Keep on putting that stuff out there. You're truly an inspiration...
And my lips are sealed on the jungle fever post. :O
Peace Love and Truth
Devon L. Hill
09/27/2005 20:21