MILITARY MATTERS: 104-year-old War Veteran Tells Stories About All-Black Infantry

Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 11:15 PM EST
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GULFPORT, Ms. (WTVM) - A century-old civil rights pioneer and war veteran in South Mississippi is sharing significant moments that have left an imprint on in the local and national community, during this Black History Month.

The eyes of 104-year-old World War II veteran Taylor Howard have an unspoken story to tell, a story of fighting for freedom and equality that began in 1937 when he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps.

“I developed some leadership ability,” Howard said.

Howard - always a man on a mission - enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 20. From 1942 to 1945, he served with the all-Black 92nd Infantry including in World War II, telling us, “I was a rifleman and a squad leader.”

After the war, he took up another fight and joined the NAACP. As a civil rights activist, he spoke at dozens of political protests and caucuses. Howard still speaks against inequality today.

“Segregation meant denial of basic race and basic opportunities of the human race,” Howard said.

Howard maintained his peace of mind during difficult times by keeping close to his faith, family, and serving his church.

“I went to school, Sunday school regularly and taught Christian development,” Howard said.

He remembers the racial tensions they faced while training in Louisiana and after they got home from war. We asked if he had one more message he would give to the world.

Howard’s response: “Every human of any color should be treated the same way.”

Howard’s humble spirit has taken him far in his life, a shining example of overcoming and Black history.