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

Black WWII veteran remembers war, segregation

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.

  • NEWSMore>>

  • Ocean Springs resident concerned about family in Puerto Rico

    Ocean Springs resident concerned about family in Puerto Rico

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 9:49 PM EDT2017-09-21 01:49:37 GMT
    Gloria Perez watches for any news from her hometown in Puerto RicoGloria Perez watches for any news from her hometown in Puerto Rico

    Ocean Springs resident Gloria Perez awaits any word from her family in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Perez, who came to South Mississippi 24 years ago, spent her day Wednesday watching the television, hoping for news following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. She last spoke to her family Tuesday night. 

    More >>

    Ocean Springs resident Gloria Perez awaits any word from her family in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. Perez, who came to South Mississippi 24 years ago, spent her day Wednesday watching the television, hoping for news following the landfall of Hurricane Maria. She last spoke to her family Tuesday night. 

    More >>
  • Could oyster sack limit hurt local restaurants and businesses?

    Could oyster sack limit hurt local restaurants and businesses?

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 6:29 PM EDT2017-09-20 22:29:08 GMT
    To keep up with the demand, Quality Seafood’s business manager says they buy them from neighboring states. (Image Source: WLOX News)To keep up with the demand, Quality Seafood’s business manager says they buy them from neighboring states. (Image Source: WLOX News)

    Quality Seafood in Biloxi sells oysters year-round. To keep up with the demand, they buy them from neighboring states but always look forward to snagging the local ones.

    More >>

    Quality Seafood in Biloxi sells oysters year-round. To keep up with the demand, they buy them from neighboring states but always look forward to snagging the local ones.

    More >>
  • Mississippi fighting opioid crisis

    Mississippi fighting opioid crisis

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 6:19 PM EDT2017-09-20 22:19:59 GMT
    In 2016, Mississippi saw at least 211 deaths from drug overdoses. (Photo source: WLOX)In 2016, Mississippi saw at least 211 deaths from drug overdoses. (Photo source: WLOX)

    Psychologists from around the state are on the coast for the 2017 Mississippi Psychological Association Convention. Included on the agenda is what public health officials have called an opioid epidemic.

    More >>

    Psychologists from around the state are on the coast for the 2017 Mississippi Psychological Association Convention. Included on the agenda is what public health officials have called an opioid epidemic.

    More >>
  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • breaking

    Teacher accused of bringing students home for sex

    Teacher accused of bringing students home for sex

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 4:24 PM EDT2017-09-20 20:24:41 GMT
    Wednesday, September 20 2017 5:20 PM EDT2017-09-20 21:20:20 GMT
    Jessie Lorene Goline (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)Jessie Lorene Goline (Source: Craighead Co. Sheriff's Office)

    Arkansas State Police say a former Marked Tree teacher brought several students to her home in Jonesboro for sex, including two in the same night.

    More >>

    Arkansas State Police say a former Marked Tree teacher brought several students to her home in Jonesboro for sex, including two in the same night.

    More >>
  • Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Young girl hospitalized by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium

    Wednesday, September 20 2017 5:46 PM EDT2017-09-20 21:46:33 GMT
    Thursday, September 21 2017 2:48 AM EDT2017-09-21 06:48:45 GMT

    A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during a game against Minnesota, leading some New York players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    More >>

    A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during a game against Minnesota, leading some New York players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly