February Black History Month: Black Women in Jazz:
Denison has a rich history of jazz beginning with the early 1940s. One of the early women pioneers is Clora Bryant, a jazz trumpeter born May 30, 1927, in Denison, TX. She graduated from Terrell High School in Denison in 1943. Bryant grew up singing in her Baptist church choir. In high school, she picked up the trumpet her older brother Fred left behind upon entering the military, joining the school marching band. She proved...
Moments in Black History
Denison's Tuskegee Airman
Major Jewel Barton Butler, Sr. was born 6 June 1922 in Denison, Grayson County, Texas, to Edward Arthur Butler, and Louise Hill Stewart-Butler. Jewel was the second son (third child), of 11 children. Four of those sons served in WWII in various branches of the Military. Those branches included the Marines, Merchant Marines, and the Army Air Force. Later, the youngest son served in the Navy, during the Korean Conflict.
Jewe...l graduated from Terrell High School, Denison, Texas, on 29 May 1940. He started his military career, at Tuskegee, Alabama as a pilot, flying the P-40, P-39, and P-51 type aircraft, with the 12th and 15th Air Force. His Commander was Colonel Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. The "Red Tails," also called the Schwartze Vogelmenshen (Black Birdmen), by the Germans, flew missions in North Africa, Sicily, and Europe. White American Bomber crews reverently referred to them as "The Black Red tail Angels." They earned this name because of their reputation for not losing bombers [Actually lost 50] to enemy fighters as they provided fighter escort to bombing missions over strategic targets in Europe. Their squadron had already distinguished itself over North Africa, Sicily, and Anzio, joined three other Black Squadrons: the 100th, 301st and 302nd. These four squadrons comprised the largest fighter unit in the 15th Air Force. From Italian bases, they also destroyed enemy rail traffic, coast-watching surveillance stations and hundreds of vehicles on air-to ground strafing missions. Sixty-six of these pilots were killed in aerial combat, while another thirty-two were either forced down or shot down and captured to become prisoners of war.
These Black Airmen came home with 150 Distinguished flying Crosses, Legions of merit, and the Red Star of Yugoslavia. The demands for parity and recognition as competent military professionals combined with the magnificent war record of the 99th and 332nd, led to a review of the U.S. War Department racial policies.
That the "Tuskegee Experiment" achieved success rather than the expected failure is further recorded by the elevation of three of these pioneers to flag rank: The late General Daniel "Chappie" James, our nation's first Black Four-Star General; Lt General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr, USAF, Retired; and Major General Lucius Theus, USAF, Retired.
Major Butler died on 13 December, 1992 in Houston, Texas
Note: He retired from the Air Force: Sheppard AFB, Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1963
The Tuskegee Airmen
Moments in Black History
In an article published in the Denison Herald in February 1998, the late businessman C.B. Bunkley stated: Denison was the first city in Texas to have a Negro Boy Scout Troop after integration of the organization in the late 1920s. Even though the National Organization was integrated, the local packs were still segregated.
February Black History Month
Claude H. Organ was born in Marshall, Texas on October 16,1928. He died June 22, 2005 in Oakland, CA. He was the second of the three children born to Claude H. Organ Sr. and Ottolena Pemberton Organ. He attended public schools in Denison, Texas. Claude was a well-rounded student that was academically successful and participated in sports. Because both of Claude’s parents attained College degrees, they both stressed education to Claude and his sibl...ings. Claude became the valedictorian of his high school. Claude Attended Xavier University in New Orleans with an interest in Medicine that was sparked by his two maternal uncles. Claude’s experience with racism led him to want to change the system. He also authored a book, A Century of Black Surgeons The USA Experience, Claude H, Jr. Organ
More on Dr. Claude Organ, JR.. A must see YouTube video.
Moments in Black History
Walter Potts The Last Buffalo Soldier. The story of Walter E. Potts who lived to be 106-years-old and was the last surviving member of the Buffalo Soldiers that served in the 92nd Division and fought in France during World War I. Researched and written by his granddaughter, Eva Hogan, she discovered many little-known facts about African American contributions to the "Great War," as well as rare photographs of her grandfather's unit in France. The stor...ies of the fabled Buffalo Soldiers are well-documented from their days in the early West, but Hogan was fortunate to capture first-hand from her grandfather the stories when the Buffalo Soldiers fought for their country in France, despite unjust treatment on the home-front.
Walter E. Potts was born about 1892 and died June 13, 1997. Walter was one of the last known survivors of the Buffalo Soldiers. He was inducted into the Army on October 29, 1917. He Left his home in Denison, Texas on October 25, 1917 and traveled to San Antonio, TX on the train where he was inducted.
Claudia Williams Barnes is also a granddaughter of Walter Potts.
Honored to be keynote speaker for the United Way of Grayson County Annual Awards Celebration. Growing up in Denison, TX my family received vital support from m...any of the local charities covered by the United Way. I'm excited & humbled to speak to the local business community because I am a product of the vision of this organization: LIVE UNITED!!
A Moment in Black History: The Negro Motorist Green Book
"Traveling While Black"
During the height of segregation and "Jim Crow", many African Americans used the "Negro Motorist Green Book," a guide that informed travelers of the safest places to eat, sleep or get a haircut when on the road. Published in 1936 by Harlem mailman, Victor Green, it continued to be released until the mid-1960s and passage of the Civil Rights Act. The Green Book helped black travelers navigate the dangers and humiliations racial segregation posed.
Black History Month
AM Joy: “Testify” Exhibit of Diane & Alan Page Collection
Herald Democrat News Article January 2, 2018
DONNA HUNT: Terrell School produced many musicians