Black WWII veteran remembers war, segregation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Black WWII veteran remembers war, segregation

Updated:
James Taylor, then and now James Taylor, then and now
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

In 1943, Biloxi resident James Taylor was an 18-year-old black man in the Navy. January 30th of that year, was a day he will never forget. That's when 22 sailors died after their ship was hit by a torpedo.

"I thought I would not make it," Taylor said. "But then I prayed, and I made it through."

Taylor was one of six black men who served with 250 fellow sailors aboard a destroyer with the fifth fleet in the South Pacific.

"That was awful," he remembered. "That was the most segregation I have ever experienced in my life."

The six black men were crammed into one small room on the ship. Taylor would load the front guns on the ship, but most of the time he and the other black men on board were only allowed to serve as stewards.

As a stewart on the ship, Taylor would shine the officers' shoes and do their laundry. There was no mingling of races, and at times, the black sailors feared for their lives. Taylor worried he would be thrown overboard if he was caught walking the deck alone.

But times have changed. Taylor was one of nearly 80 WWII vets recently invited to visit the war memorial in Washington. In his 88 years, it was one of Taylor's happiest moments.

"Seeing that monument was a tear jerker," he said with his voice choked with emotion. "It just made you want to cry and then it made you proud to be an American."

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Spring breakers enjoy the coast

    Spring breakers enjoy the coast

    Sunday, April 20 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-04-20 12:00:18 GMT
    It was a busy day on the beaches of Biloxi Saturday, as people came out to enjoy the sun on the second day of Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Break.More >>
    It was a busy day on the beaches of Biloxi Saturday, as people came out to enjoy the sun on the second day of Mississippi Gulf Coast Spring Break.More >>
  • Water advisories issued for 6 areas of the beach

    Water advisories issued for 6 areas of the beach

    Saturday, April 19 2014 7:55 AM EDT2014-04-19 11:55:08 GMT
    Advisories have been issued for several sections of the beach in Harrison and Hancock counties. The beaches aren't closed, but there may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in these areas.More >>
    Advisories have been issued for several sections of the beach in Harrison and Hancock counties. The beaches aren't closed, but there may be an increased risk of illness associated with swimming in these six areas.
    More >>
  • Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    Ohio couple married 70 years die 15 hours apart

    Saturday, April 19 2014 4:02 PM EDT2014-04-19 20:02:08 GMT
    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.More >>
    A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.