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David Brown

Enlisted Soldier David W. Brown was born on August 26, 1920 in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1943, four years after completing high school, and three days after he and his wife were married, Brown was drafted into the United States Army.

In 1944, Brown was deployed during World War II with the 490th Port Battalion, 226 Port Company European Theater, where he served as a technician 4th Grade. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, Brown landed on the shores of Utah Beach alongside 23,000 other men as allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy. The following year, while still serving in Europe, he would travel to England, France and Belgium. In December of 1945, Brown received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Army. Following the end of the War, he returned to the United States and was discharged from the military in a ceremony at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Brown then traveled to St. Louis, Missouri, where he attended Maplewood Refrigeration, a vocational school. After completing training there in 1948, Brown worked as a refrigeration engineer. He also attended the Carrier Corporation, another vocational institute in Syracuse, New York, where he received further schooling in AC engineering. Brown went on to work as a refrigeration and air conditioning engineer at Beaumont Medical and System Air. He then established his own firm, Brown Industrial Corporation.

Brown was the recipient of many awards and honors. In 2004, he was the featured veteran in Studs Terkel’s production The Good War, showcased in Skokie, Illinois. Then, in 2009, after contributing to the History Channel’s program A Distant Shore: African Americans of D-Day, Brown was awarded an Emmy plaque from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. In 2010, during a ceremony in Northbrook, Illinois, he was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor medal, the highest decoration bestowed on those who have achieved remarkable deeds for France.

Brown passed away on June 13, 2015 at age 94.

Accession Number

A2013.193

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/20/2013

Last Name

Brown

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

W.

Occupation
Organizations
Schools

Manassas High School

Maplewood School of Refigeration

Carrier Corporation

Search Occupation Category
First Name

David

Birth City, State, Country

Memphis

HM ID

BRO57

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Tennessee

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

8/26/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Northbrook

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Ice Cream

Death Date

6/13/2015

Short Description

Soldier David Brown (1920 - 2015 ) served in the United States Army during World War II, and participated in the Normandy landings on D-Day.

Employment

Hammel Refrigeration

Central Refrigeration

Beaumont Medical

System Air

Brown Industrial Corporation

Favorite Color

Yellow

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Brown's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Brown lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Brown discusses his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Brown discusses his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about how his parents met and married, their life in Memphis, Tennessee, and his mother's electrical and plumbing skills

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Brown describes his childhood home in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as his siblings

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Brown describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Brown describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Brown describes Christmas holidays with his family during the Great Depression

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Brown describes the neighborhood where he grew up in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Brown describes his experience in elementary school and high school in Memphis, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Brown talks about his history and chemistry classes in high school

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about his experience in church as a child, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about his experience in church as a child, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about his experience in elementary school and his desire to become an engineer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about building radios and a doorbell as a teenager

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about listening to BBC radio's newscast about World War II, and his interest in airplanes

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about growing up during the Great Depression, and losing the money that he had invested in a program in grade school

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his in high school and his friends who volunteered for military service

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about working at an engineering store after graduating from high school

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about being drafted into World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - David Brown talks about meeting his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about the events that led him to date his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about dating his wife

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about growing up during segregation, and saving to buy a car

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Brown describes how he and his brother, Grover, were drafted into World War II, and their trip to Fort Benning, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about leaving home for the draft and being assigned to boot camp in Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about his experience at Camp Harahan, Louisiana

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his altercation with the first sergeant at Camp Harahan, Louisiana, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his altercation with the first sergeant at Camp Harahan, Louisiana, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about his transfer to Newport News, Virginia in August of 1943

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about his reassignment to the U.S. Navy and his involvement with an espionage interception mission

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about being assigned to the Allied invasion of Normandy, France in 1944 during World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David Brown describes the events that led up to his involvement in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David Brown describes the events that led up to his involvement in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David Brown reflects upon the deaths of American soldiers during the invasion of Normandy in June, 1944, during World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David Brown describes his experience after landing on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David Brown describes his experience after landing on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about the roles of the soldiers on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about leaving Utah Beach, Normandy, France and being reassigned to Rouen, France in November of 1944

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about the Battle of the Bulge and how German soldiers killed American soldiers and masqueraded as American troops

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David Brown discusses two rare instances of racial discrimination while he was a soldier at Utah Beach, Normandy

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his assignment to Rouen, France

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David Brown discusses his experience in Rouen, France, as the German offense mounted

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about the killing of German intruders at his post at Rouen, France during the Battle of the Bulge

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about being promoted to Technician Fourth Grade and other black officers whom he served with

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David Brown talks about the soldiers who died on Utah Beach, Normandy in June of 1944

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about the close-knit environment of the troops he served with in World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about being assigned to special duty in Rouen and an American soldier killing an anti-Semitic German

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about capturing a German ship in Cherbourg, France

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about being stationed in Cherbourg, France, after World War II

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his transition out of Europe after World War II, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - David Brown talks about his transition out of Europe after World War II, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - David Brown describes his trip from Belgium to New York in December, 1945

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David Brown talks about leaving the U.S. Army in January of 1946, his journey home to Memphis, and the reception from his family

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David Brown talks about encountering racial discrimination as a World War II veteran in America, and his decision to attend trade school

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David Brown describes his experience in trade school

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - David Brown talks about his first job assignment and racial discrimination

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - David Brown talks about his brother's return from World War II and his career in the railroad and in printing

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - David Brown talks about his children, pt. 1

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - David Brown talks about his children, pt. 2

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - David Brown talks about his efforts in the union for rights for African Americans in the 1940s

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - David Brown reflects upon the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Presidents John F. Kennedy and Franklin D. Roosevelt

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - David Brown reflects upon the Vietnam War and the politics of war and veterans' services

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - David Brown reflects about being recognized as an African American soldier in World War II and D-Day, and the movie industry's portrayal of the war

Tape: 9 Story: 4 - David Brown reflects upon receiving the Legion of Honor Award, and the difference between his treatment in Europe and in the U.S.

Tape: 9 Story: 5 - David Brown reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 6 - David Brown shares his message to future generations

Tape: 9 Story: 7 - David Brown gives a message to the African American community

Tape: 9 Story: 8 - David Brown reflects upon racial prejudices in the United States and segregation in the U.S. Army during World War II

Tape: 10 Story: 1 - David Brown describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$6

DAStory

5$3

DATitle
David Brown describes the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944 during World War II, pt. 1
David Brown talks about the roles of the soldiers on Utah Beach, Normandy in June, 1944 during World War II
Transcript
Tuesday [June 6, 1944] morning, some guy say, "Hey Sarge, they're bombing the beach." "You're crazy, they're not bombing the beach." And I wake up, they were bombing the beach; from the right to the left, from the right to the left, from right to left--all Tuesday morning. So as the daylight begin to appear over France, all the ships that go in the same direction, everybody--are stopping at disorganized rotation; some goin' east, some goin' west, some goin' north, some goin' south. And we were going north; we kept goin' north. Now the waves begin to settle down; it's still choppy. Now I notice up ahead of us was a striped war ship; he was shining (unclear) ashore. I didn't pay attention where these waves--where shell was falling, but I notice we have these--shell--leave these guns on this war ship; these flame burners, go down and hit the water level. I'm thinkin' 'I hope we don't get too close to this war ship 'cause if that flame hit these shells, we are suckin' duck.' As we got mid-ship, he made a U-turn to the right, in his U-turnin', I turned my head to the left and my chin is still fastened tight against these ammunition, and I spotted that building that you see now in History Channel, two-story building that's on the top of that hill that you see on History Channel, and the gunfire was goin' galore. It was no firing from where we were, but you could hear it on the beach over there. It was Omaha Beach. But we weren't going there, we were goin' back to Utah Beach so we kept goin' south now. As the daylight approaches, I saw that (unclear) stickin' out in the channel like a sore thumb, and along--parallel this was these landing craft that goin' beside of 'em--these two-stage landing craft, and they was already goin' on to Utah Beach unloadin' their vehicles, the tanks and their troops. They're goin' onto the beach through the--through this opening that was in the beach head. Well, there was no gun firing going across; true, we're goin' across at a fast pace but they weren't runnin', 'cause when you're sure--we were pretty sure they were goin' right parallel beside of it and he go right through there and there was nobody on that beach, and this went on all morning. At eight o' clock, we was supposed to go ashore, and we kept goin'--move up a little bit, and we move up a little bit and stop and move up a little bit and stop. All at once, the sailor says, "Go short." So we stop, and there was a whole bunch of ships in front of us--landing craft rather. Then all at once, four landing crafts blew up in front of us; we never did find out who it was because in World War II, information didn't pass like they do today; if you saw it, then you just kept it to yourself. So we didn't bother about it; we kept waiting, kept waiting, so finally our sailor come along and says, "The beach master step on a landing craft because the tide was going out and the beach master didn't want the landing craft stuck three or 400 feet from the beach 'cause the land vehicles gets bogged down in this soft sand unloading these landing crafts and when tide comes back in, they'd be under the water, so they didn't that; they'd stop us that far; they're waitin' for the tide to come back in. Same time--every once in a--maybe five minutes, a shell would come out from the beach. This was a (unclear) box; a gun was fired from a (unclear) box--a German (unclear) box. So we couldn't find him but the Navy was lookin' for it. Navy finally find this gun in the gun slot and it kept firing at this pure box. As it got to five shots--'cause we could see this fireman's shell comin' from this Navy ship hit this pure box and bouncin' off his pure box just like a tennis ball. Now we figure we're in bad trouble 'cause if that shell don't penetrate that (unclear) box, we in trouble buddy. It was shelling down the (unclear)--the beach; it wasn't shelling out to the water, just straight down the beach, which we gotta cross. And this went on all day long.$So the, the next day comes; is that when you get to leave, or what happened?$$You never get no relief. You're in this foxhole and we were waitin'--our job is--everybody has a job; the one job everybody has, even the five on this aircraft--everybody following this aircraft, that's where the air raid is. Well your job is--our job is to unload these seagoing vessels. Well they now, they can't come any closer; they're four or 500 feet from the shore; only the landing crafts come ashore. The beach master they're the traffic jam--traffic cops; all landing crafts come to the shore first; they get unloaded first. The quartermasters, this is their job. (Unclear) don't do this; quartermasters drive their vehicles on these landing crafts, unloads it, all these supplies on these landing craft, drive 'em in shore to the fuel dumps, ammunition dump, to the water dumps. A dump is a supply area, in the Army, they call it a dump. But you got fuel rations, you put on (unclear) and as your front line needs this, front line have their own people comin' to these dumps to get what they need and go back to feed 'em. Now Americans think the minority soldiers are there to feed the Caucasian soldiers. I straightened that out--a writer down in Bloomington [Indiana] about this. It sounded good to the writer. I tore it out of his book; I say "You got it all wrong; I was there, you wasn't." "Well this makes you look--" "I'm not here to make anything to you look good; I'm the one that suffered the consequence over there."$$So, so what was the correct--what did you correct him about? I'm unclear about that.$$He had on his book "the minority soldiers' job was to furnish supplies to Caucasian soldiers." That's not true. The quartermaster was the supply area, and you got--black soldiers was in the quartermasters, white soldiers was in quartermaster--foreman (ph.). And as the front lines told you who was your infantry, they needed guns or they need food, they need ammunition, they need fuel, the quartermaster delivered it to them--to that dump. Whether they're white or black, the delivered to 'em. Then the infantry soldier had their own people come to their particular dump to pick it up and take it to the front lines. Just as simple as you own a business; you go to this company over here to pick up your supply of goods that you need. No, he's not working for you; you go to him to get it. That's the way that went; the Army was set up just like a business. So that's why I had to take it out of his book.$$Okay. So how long were you on Utah Beach [Normandy, France]?$$Five months.$$Five months?$$Five months--from June until November [1944]; Thanksgiving Day.$$Okay.

Chalmers Archer, Jr.

Combat medical technician, author and education administrator Chalmers Archer, Jr. was born on April 21, 1928 in Tchula, Mississippi to Eva R. Archer, a teacher and Chalmers Archer, Sr., a farmer. As a child, his father and uncles rented a hilltop of more than four hundred acres known as the “Place”, where they farmed, cultivated orchards, raised livestock and built smokehouses. The land was sold when Archer was twelve years old and his family moved to Lexington, Mississippi. After graduating from Ambrose High School, he attended Tuskegee University for one year before volunteering for the United States Army Air Corps.

Archer was in the United States Army Air Corps for one year and then transferred to the Army. He served on a medical crew as a master sergeant technician during the Korean War, where his unit’s job was to retrieve wounded soldiers. In 1952, Archer began training at Fort Bragg’s Psychological Warfare Center as part of the newly formed United States Army’s Special Forces. His unit was one of the first to enter Vietnam where he trained original Special Forces teams of the South Vietnamese army. On October 21, 1957, Archer’s unit was ambushed and he witnessed the first American combat deaths in Vietnam, as well saving the lives of American and Vietnamese soldiers. He did not see action in Vietnam again, however, he did see action in Cambodia and Laos. Archer went on to serve in the Philippines, Hawaii, Korea, Taiwan, and Panama, as well as in Southeast Asia. He ended his army service in 1967 and went back to school, receiving his B.S. degree from the Tuskegee Institute in 1972. Archer earned his M.Ed. degree in 1974 and his Ph.D. degree in counseling and psychology from Auburn University in 1979. He then completed a twelve month, post-graduate study at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. In 1983, Archer became a professor of counseling and psychology at Northern Virginia Community College. He later served as assistant to the president at Saints Junior College in Lexington, Mississippi and assistant to the vice president at the Tuskegee Institute.

Archer wrote two memoirs, Growing up Black in Rural Mississippi published in 1991 and Green Berets in the Vanguard published in 2001. He received the Afro-Achievement Award in 1994 for distinguished lifetime achievement in education from the Dale City Afro-Achievement Committee. Archer also served as president of the Jennie Dean Project.

Archer passed away on February 24, 2014, at the age of 85.

Accession Number

A2012.147

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/12/2012

Last Name

Archer

Marital Status

Single

Organizations
Schools

Tuskegee University

Auburn University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Chalmers

Birth City, State, Country

Tchula

HM ID

ARC11

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Mississippi

Favorite Vacation Destination

Home

Favorite Quote

Let's get with it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/21/1928

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fish (Fried), Vegetables

Death Date

2/24/2014

Short Description

Soldier and psychology professor Chalmers Archer, Jr. (1928 - 2014 ) joined the newly formed United States Army’s Special Forces in 1952 and was one of the first units to enter Vietnam in 1957. He was the author of two memoirs, 'Growing up Black in Rural Mississippi' and 'Green Berets in the Vanguard'.

Employment

Northern Virginia Community College

United States Army Special Forces

Tuskegee University

Saints Junior College

Favorite Color

Black

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Chalmers Archer's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer describes his mother's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer describes his mother's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his mother's education and employment, as well as where he grew up

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer discusses the book he wrote and how he was not permitted to have a book signing in Tchula, Mississippi

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer recalls a story about his paternal grandfather from slavery that is in the book he wrote

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer remembers the stories his father told him about growing up, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer remembers the stories his father told him about growing up, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about how his family came to live at "The Place"

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his grandparents and his father hearing Booker T. Washington speak

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer discusses his father's service in the military, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer discusses his father's service in the military, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about his siblings and how his parents met

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his brother, his father's restaurant and his mother's cooking

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer describes his parents' personalities and college plans

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his uncles

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about the barn fire at his family home in Lexington, Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer discusses the differences between growing up white and growing up black in Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer talks about blacks' rights in Mississippi

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Chalmers Archer talks about the schools he attended as a child

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his elementary school experience

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about leaving "The Place"

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his father's involvement with the U.S. Federal Housing Administration program

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer discusses his high school experience, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer discusses his high school experience, pt. 2

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about a gunfight he was involved in Lexington, Mississippi, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about a gunfight he was involved in Lexington, Mississippi, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about the summer he spent in Detroit, Michigan after being involved in a gunfight

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about attending Tuskegee University, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about attending Tuskegee University, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about leaving college to join the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about the Tuskegee Airmen and the prejudicial evacuation of blacks from the Philippines

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about becoming an army medic and his combat experience in World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer recalls the integration of the U.S. Armed Forces and the Korean War

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer discusses his experience with integration in the military after President Harry Truman's desegregation order

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about being a member of the U.S. Special Forces, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about being a member of the U.S. Special Forces, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer discusses his first mission with the U.S. Special Forces

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his missions in Southeast Asia and Japan

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his service during the Vietnam War, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about his service during the Vietnam War, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about his involvement with the civil rights protests in Mississippi

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the students killed at Jackson State University

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 1

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Tuskegee Institute, pt. 2

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his experience at Auburn University and the University of Alabama

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer talks about his book, "Growing Up Black in Mississippi"

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about working for Northern Virginia Community College and publishing his second book

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Chalmers Archer talks about his second book, "Green Beret's in the Vanguard"

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Chalmers Archer talks about school desegregation efforts in the U.S. with the King of Thailand

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Chalmers Archer talks about his first book, teaching career and interest in farming

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Chalmers Archer talks about his legacy and his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Chalmers Archer talks about his parents

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Chalmers Archer talks about his relationships with his siblings

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Chalmers Archer speaks about social changes for blacks in Mississippi and in the military

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Chalmers Archer talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Slating of Chalmers Archer's interview

Tape: 8 Story: 9 - Chalmers Archer describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

1$8

DATitle
Chalmers Archer talks about the summer he spent in Detroit, Michigan after being involved in a gunfight
Chalmers Archer talks about his second book, "Green Beret's in the Vanguard"
Transcript
So let me ask you about Detroit [Michigan]. Now--$$Oh okay.$$--you said this is your first time in a major city right?$$Yeah, it was the first time in a major city.$$So what did you do all summer in Detroit?$$Oh, I think I went to Canada but I'm not certain so if anybody ask me if I ever been to Canada, I say I'm not certain because I don't know whether I went--it's right across the river you know. But I went to Bell Island, that's the first one of those things that I'd ever gone to. I really enjoyed that back and forth. And they made a big to-do over me. You know I was the littlest and all of their children were grown you know and so I had a wonderful time. It was only three months. But I got a job shining shoes. That's the only thing I could find fairly quickly you know and I did well. Whatever, of course whatever I tried to do, I did the best I could. And, but going to Bell Island and--oh, I also, I went from shining shoes to pressing clothes. They taught me, I was the only young boy there, young person there and they taught me how to press clothes and how to clean clothes. I thought I, said I just might want to be a, have, start a business you know some day. But that never materialized, but--$$Now who did you stay with, your--?$$Huh?$$Who did you stay with in Detroit?$$Oh, my cousins. They were my cousins but they were like my father's sisters. They were cousins so--in those days though people were close you know, sisters and brothers. Two steps backwards, it was twelve people in my father's family and two of them were adopted and adopted in those days mean they just took them in you know and made certain, and made no distinction between the one they took in and their natural born ones you know. One got drowned and they never did get over that the people in papa's family, immediate family. He talked about that. He's just like you, he didn't talk much. (Laughter). She claims I don't talk much.$$So did you get a chance to experience any of the entertainment in Detroit?$$Um-um.$$No? Okay.$$No, I don't think so. I don't remember. Oh, I had been to Chicago [Illinois], you know maybe I went to Chicago later and a lot of entertainment. I think that was later though.$$Yeah.$$It was.$$I think all your brothers and sisters moved to Chicago at one point, right? So well, so you spent a summer in Detroit and you came back to--and went to Tuskegee [University], right?$$Yeah, almost kept going.$$Okay.$$Almost.$Well just to summarize it. I mean it's about the Special Forces, the beginning of the Special Forces--$$Yeah.$$--being formed in the early 50s [1950s] and--$$Then we went to--$$--then their use in Southeast Asia prior to the Vietnam War, right?$$Yeah. And we went to Hawaii for a year. Why I do not know. Why the Pentagon sent us to Hawaii for a year to do nothing and no particular training. We did some parachute jumping and we went hunting boars. I think that's the way they pronounced it, boars--the hogs, wild hogs.$$Right.$$We went hunting them. I didn't want to kill any so I just took it easy while the other, the rest of us hunt for boars and gave it to the local people you know the ones you kill. And, which was a good idea I guess. And we left there and we went to Thailand. Thailand was one that the president thought that from what was it, the--you told me the other day, the game that the whole game went--$$Oh, domino.$$The dominoes, yeah.$$Domino theory, right.$$He was afraid that they would you know fall under that and that was Thailand and two or three more. Vietnam was one.$$Cambodia, Laos and--$$Cambodia and Laos and maybe some more.$$Burma yeah.$$But we went to Thailand and we put them through a complete Special Forces training that, same as we had but not quite as rough as ours was. So--I don't think. But unless it was just easier for me since I had gone through it not too long ago. Maybe that was it, I don't know. But we put them through jump school and we also put them through ranger school, a brief, lack of a better road--a better word, put them through there in less time than it took them in the infantry school, about half the time. But it was rough. And we got to know all of the dignitaries and most of those dignitaries, some of them got to be premier and all of them were top dignitaries that we dealt with. They felt it was important if [Dwight D. Eisenhower] you know sent us over there and Colonel Manning talked us up, you know said the president sent us and so on. And I got a chance to meet the King. The King sent for me and he wanted--$$This is the king of--?$$I've forgotten his name. It's in the book ["Green Beret's in the Vanguard"] though. It's in here. He sent for me because I was black and I think--but he was educated in the United States and he was interested to talk particularly about the music, Woody Herman and all of the black--Woody Herman of course wasn't black but all of the black--$$Musicians?$$Musicians, yeah.$$Okay.$$And he seemed to--if he was--what I couldn't understand was if he was educated in the United States and--but he seemed to have thought all black people played music. He seemed to, he asked me which instruments did I play you know?