This man was born 100 years ago today. The world has never been the same.
Georgia-born, he became a child refugee in the Great Migration when his father moved their small family north to Michigan where the father went to work for a booming automaker in a rising place called Flint. He was a boy during the Great Depression and, years later, was working as a janitor at AC Spark Plug when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
In December 1942, he kissed his young bride goodbye and marched off to war in Europe. After combat training in Fort Huachuca in the Arizona desert, he eventually went ashore overseas somewhere in Leghorn, Italy, with elements of the 92nd Division, the all-black combat unit in Uncle Sam's segregated Army. There, his division, part of the Fifth Army, fought its way up the Ligurian Coast and into the Northern Apennines and Italian Alps smashing German Nazis. When Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini was captured, executed by Italian partisans and his corpse hung in a public square in Milan, he was just 20-25 miles away.