Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist
Journalist @baltimoresun writer artist runner #amwriting Md Troopers Assoc #20 & Westminster Md Fire Dept Chaplain PIO #partylikeajournalist

Monday, August 03, 2015

On August 3rd of 1944 at the Tuskegee Army Air Field

On August 3rd of 1944 at the Tuskegee Army Air Field

On August 3rd of 1944 a group of twelve African American officers led by Captain Willard B. Ransom entered the west dining room of the Tuskegee Army Air Field (TAAF) Post Exchange restaurant. This restaurant had been reserved for white officers only. Capt. Ransom and the other officers sat down and asked to be served. When 2nd Lt. George D Frye the Assistant Exchange Officer, asked the black officers to go to the larger east dining room which was reserved for them, Captain Ransom showed Frye two War Department letters that noted service at base recreational facilities and post exchanges would not be denied to any personnel because of race.

With Col. Noel Parrish’s support, Lt. Frye agreed to let the black officers be served in the west dining room, effectively integrating the restaurant without violence. Unfortunately many white officers stopped eating at the facility. Also the elimination (wash out) rate for black cadets increased. Some white officers asked for transfers, however within two months, TAAF received its first black flight instructors. Col. Parrish assured the white leadership of nearby towns that integration of the base facilities would not affect areas outside the base.

Before WWII Capt. Ransom was a 1932 graduate of Crispus Attucks High School and he also graduated summa cum laude from Talladega College in 1936. Three years later he received his law degree from Harvard University and was admitted to the bar. In 1941, only two months into a four-year term as assistant attorney general, he was inducted into the service. After serving overseas in the Army, he returned to Indianapolis only to encounter prejudice at home.

As a result of this experience, Ransom reorganized the state chapter of the NAACP, encouraging people across the state to take direct action for civil rights. Ransom is credited with organizing local protests in Indianapolis in the late 1950s, before many of the sit-ins and marches in the South.

From 1947 to 1954, Ransom was the assistant manager of Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. During this time, he ran a private practice and played a major role in passing all significant civil rights legislation in Indiana. In addition to serving five terms as chairman of the state NAACP, he was legal counsel to many African Americans in the Indianapolis fire and police departments, he was also the director of the National City Bank of Indiana, and a board member of the Madame C. J. Walker Urban Life Center.

In 1970, he co-founded the Indiana Black Expo. He was also founding member of the Concerned Ministers of Indianapolis. Ransom also received the organization’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1993 for his dedicated work in the civil rights movement.

Ransom died in Indianapolis on November 7, 1995, at the age of 79.

History is all connected.

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