A Growing Legacy

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm

In 2005 the New York Times conducted a series “Class Matters” examining class and poverty, to which they found it was disproportionately African American. Poverty and race seem to be inextricably linked, and this spills over into all facets of life. African Americans are less likely to marry; 70 percent of African American children are born to single mothers; African American men are more likely to be incarcerated than on a college campus; and on and on.

There seems to be little to no hope in sight…Right? The statistics are staggering, yet hope exists. From the First Family to the family around the corner, we see working middle class African American families coming together, staying together. These families remain under the radar. As a child I was in the minority, unlike what the statistics reflect then and even today, I was one of few children in my area who was born into a single parent household. Success is there, rather than looking at the staggering statistics, we need to see those who are making family work. I am a proponent of the two-parent family; however, I also am a strong proponent of a strong family unit, a unit that is not traditionally a husband or a wife, but of aunts, uncles, grandmothers, essentially the extended family. I am a product of such. Families come in all shapes and sizes, when the child has love, care, and a stable unit, success is much more likely to follow him or her.

So, last week, as Veteran’s Day approached us, one Mr. John E. Terry, Sr., a WWII Vet, died peacefully in his sleep. When I returned home for his funeral, I noticed several things: he was loved by many and he loved and promoted the concept of family. He left a legacy like no other, and when I look to those rather depressing statistics, I see hope, for he defied them and so did his children and their children. My heart goes out to his family, yet this one leader left a legacy for young African Americans to pursue. He was strong, determined, but above all, he was a teacher. His methods may not have been conventional; when you were in his presence, you couldn’t help but to share and dwell in love. He will surely be missed, but Pop’s legacy only grows and continues…

To the Benton County Vets: At the time they served, our Armed Forces were not yet integrated. They served under much different conditions than vets today. Looking back, I wish I could speak to them, to inquire about life in the military, serving abroad, and what the return to Mississippi was like. But now I will celebrate their lives and tell their stories…one vet at a time. Note: This is only a partial list of African American service members from Benton County, Mississippi.

Name and Date of Enlistment

Robert L. Bean April 23, 1941
Eddie Adair April 25, 1941.
Jim Avant August 4, 1942
Tom W. Batts October 2, 1942
James Beard October 2, 1942
Rice T. Allen, November 17, 1942
William Avant November 17, 1942
John H. Bean February 2, 1943
Henry C. Cathey December 3, 1942
Henry Clardy February 2, 1943
Clinton Boga September 2, 1942
Joe W. Morgan August 30, 1944
James T. Jimmerson February 2, 1943
George L. Mason December 3, 1942
Andy L. Mason June 19, 1942
Willie B. Mason April 3, 1943
Ulyess Roytson, Jr. November 17, 1942
Enlo P. Terry January 19, 1944
Willie B. Terry April 12, 1941
John E. Terry, Sr. February 2, 1943

  1. Good blog nice web site

  2. I have lived in Benton County all of my life. Each year when Veteran’s Day come and there is talk of local veteran’s, I personally have not heard one African American name mentioned. I did not realize that Benton County has so many distinguished African American Veterans. Thank you for bringing awareness to this.

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