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Col. Porcher Taylor, Jr.

Retired colonel and education administrator Porcher L. Taylor was born on August 9, 1925 in Jacksonville, Florida to Porcher L., Sr. and Mary Bell Taylor. Taylor’s father was the founder, publisher, and editor of the Florida Tattler. The weekly newspaper ran from 1934 until his death in 1964. Taylor was hired by his father to work in the family business, Taylor and Son Printing Company, Inc. Taylor worked as a typesetter and a pressman until 1943, when he joined the U.S. Navy and spent three years on tour in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces, he was able to enroll at Tuskegee Institute with support from the Army’s G.I. Bill.

In 1946, Taylor enlisted in the Tuskegee Institute Reserve Officer Training Corps – the precursor to the famed Tuskegee Airmen – and completed his training in 1949. Taylor also played varsity football for three years as first-string fullback and was selected as one of Tuskegee Institute’s All-Time Greatest Football Athletes in 1985. With the outbreak of the Korean War, Taylor was deployed to the Pacific Theater, where he served with the 82nd Airborne Division. In 1971, Taylor became the first African American promoted to full colonel at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Taylor is one of few living Americans who served the United States in three major wars – World War II, Koran War and Vietnam War – in both the U.S. Navy and Army. He served in the Navy for three years and the Army for twenty-five years.

In 1961, Taylor received his M.S. degree in counseling from Virginia State University (VSU), where he also served as president for student affairs and as director of counseling. He also served as professor of military science and tactics at VSU. He was then selected to enter a doctoral program at the University of South Carolina in 1968; and, in 1972 he became one of the first two African Americans to earn a Ph.D. degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina.

Taylor has been recognized for his many contributions. His military awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal. He was also the recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, an honor shared by former U.S. President Gerald Ford and astronaut Neil Armstrong. Taylor lives with his wife Ann in Petersburg, Virginia.

Porcher L. Taylor was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 12, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.196

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/15/2012

Last Name

Taylor

Middle Name

L'Engle

Occupation
Schools

New Stanton High School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Porcher

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

TAY13

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Do something good every day for somebody other than yourself. and AIRBORNE!

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Virginia

Birth Date

8/9/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Petersburg

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Pudding (Bread)

Short Description

Colonel (ret) and educator Col. Porcher Taylor, Jr. (1925 - ) is one of the few servicemen that served the United States in three major wars – World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War – in both the Navy and Army.

Employment

Taylor and Son Printing Company

United States Army

Virginia State University

City of Petersburg, Virginia

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Porcher Taylor's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about growing up in Georgia, and his mother's education and faith

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's newspaper, 'The Florida Tattler', pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his paternal grandfather's entrepreneurship

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his paternal grandfather, Dennis Taylor's involvement in the Knights of Pythias and his move to Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor discusses how his grandmother was deceived by her lawyer

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's education at Tuskegee University in the George Washington Carver Class of 1922

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his parents attending church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his sisters, Virginia Anita Williams and Betty Ruth Belton

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up during segregation in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about starting school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in sports while growing up, and his favorite subjects in school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his interest in reading, and black newspapers while he was growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his father's printing business, and his father's death in 1964

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his favorite teachers in grade school and being a member of the Boy Scouts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience in high school in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his decision to join the U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor describes his decision to attend Tuskegee University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Navy in 1943 and 1944

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about the segregated U.S. Navy during World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about being assigned to the South Pacific Theatre in World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience aboard a U.S. Navy submarine chaser in World War II and the end of the war

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his return to the U.S. from World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about race-related altercations in the U.S. military, and his experience after returning from World War II

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his discharge from his World War II assignment and the end of his career in the U.S. Navy

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignment as a guard for Japanese prisoners of war in World War II

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about attending Tuskegee University on the GI Bill

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about playing football at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting George Washington Carver at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about meeting his first wife at Tuskegee University

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about majoring in commercial industries at Tuskegee University, and being called back into active duty during the Korean War

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about segregation in the U.S. military

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the U.S. Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor describes his experience in the Korean War and in the 25th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor talks about the desegregation of the U.S. Army and the importance of ROTC programs in colleges

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Porcher Taylor talks about his assignments at Schofield Barracks following his return from the Korean War in 1955

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Porcher Taylor talks about earning his master's degree in counselor education at Virginia State University

Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Porcher Taylor talks about his career in education

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor talks about desegregation in Columbia, South Carolina, and the reaction at Fort Jackson to Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his mentor at Fort Jackson, and describes his decision to attend the University of South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at the University of South Carolina

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about his experience at Uiojongbu, Korea, and becoming a member of Lions Club International

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor talks about retiring from the U.S. Army and serving as the vice president for student affairs at Virginia State University

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Vietnam War

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Porcher Taylor talks about his service in the Organizational Effective Training Unit of the U.S. Army

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Porcher Taylor talks about his life after retirement and his awards and honors

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Porcher Taylor reflects upon his life and career

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Porcher Taylor talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Porcher Taylor shares how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Porcher Taylor talks about being elected as the military aide-de-camp by the governors of Virginia, and receiving the Noel F. Parrish Award

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Porcher Taylor describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$1

DAStory

7$3

DATitle
Porcher Taylor talks about race-related altercations in the U.S. military, and his experience after returning from World War II
Porcher Taylor describes his mother's family background
Transcript
You know, at that time, just before that, before the war [World War II] ended, '45 [1945], there was, and I think I'm right, an artillery unit from Ohio, black. They got in some difficulty over there. And they shot up the town almost. I don't, don't print that 'cause I'm not sure about that. That was just a rumor, that was just a rumor. I'm not sure. But I know something like that happened down in--just across the Texas boarder over into Mexico.$$Oh, you mean back in the early part of the century.$$Yeah.$$You're talking about Brownsville--$$Yeah, the 24th Infantry--$$Yeah, there's a Houston, what they called the Houston [Texas] riot and the Brownsville raid.$$Yeah, okay, you got it, Brownsville. Well, you know that, so I don't have to--$$Yeah, it was two of 'em, 1917 and 19--I can't think of the other one.$$Right, so that's easy for me to believe that the Ohio artillery unit did do that.$$Yeah, there seems to be some altercations that are not recorded in history, that took place in the military in those days, that were, you know, were kind of hushed, kept on the hush, you know--$$That's right, that's right. Okay, we came, we left Hawaii coming back to the [mainland United] States. We docked at Treasure Island, Treasure Island, right off from San Francisco [California], took leave, liberty and all that kind of stuff. Then we moved up the West Coast. We went up and docked in Bremerton, Washington, up near Seattle [Washington] and went into a [U.S.] Navy shipyard up there in Washington Lake, what they called it. And we were just lounging around up there, having a good time, going on liberty and so forth. And I remember one thing that happened. Of course, I told you there were only two blacks on that submarine chaser. This guy bet me that I would not jump off that boat into the Washington Lake, big lake. I said, yeah. That was the easiest five dollars I ever won in my life. I jumped off right in the (unclear). And I was a swimmer, a Boy Scout. I could outswim anybody in the world, whatever. Anyway, so we left there, came back out through Juan de Fuca. That's a little waterway going in from Bremerton, Washington, into Washington Lake, and went back down through, past San Francisco, down to the Panama Canal and came on up the Coast of Florida, and back up to Navy Amphibious Base, at Little Creek, Virginia. But before that, before we got up there, down in Panama, I was, I got the surprise of my life in Panama. We went on liberty, you know, had a good time and so forth on the Balboa side, not on the Colon side and the Panama City side. But there, I went to the bank to cash a check, and there were two lines. I said, wait a minute--we're back in America, two lines, what you mean two lines? They didn't call it black and white or colored and white. They called it gold and silver. So, which is more valuable gold, than silver? So the blacks stood in the silver line and the whites in the other line. Surprised the heck out of me, in Panama City, whatever.$$So they had segregated lines in Panama?$$Yeah. Ain't that something? Instead of black, colored and white.$Now, I'm gonna ask about your family history. I'm gonna ask about your mother's side of the family and your father's side, but separately, so we don't get 'em mixed up.$$I understand.$$So can you give us your mother's full name and spell it for us, please?$$Yes, my mother, first name, Mary, M-A-R-Y, Bell, B-E-double-L.$$And--$$Oh, I need to get maiden name, I'm sorry. Mary Virginia, Virginia her middle name--$$Okay.$$V-I-R-G-I-N-I-A, and Bell, of course, was her maiden name.$$Okay, all right.$$She was born and reared in Albany, Georgia.$$And what year was she born?$$Nineteen zero five [1905].$$Okay, now, what can you tell us about your mother's side of the family? How far back can you trace them and what were they doing in history? Are there any stories?$$You know, unfortunately, I can't go beyond three generations. And, of course, there's a reason for that. I can go back to my grandmother and grandfather on her side, and I can go back to supposedly, her father, my grandmother's father. She was very light-skinned, and I guess you could say she could "pass", if that's the right word today.$$Well, what was your grandmother's name?$$Stella.$$Stella, okay.$$Stella Bell. She married a Snyder Bell, S-N-Y-D-E-R. In fact, he was born, oh, I'm guessing, about fifteen to twenty years after slavery. And it's hard to follow them back because--and I'm not so sure I'm authorized to say what I'm about to say. But if (laughter), if you don't wanna show it, don't. But back in those days, and I've done a little bit of research on this, that my color would not be the color that I am if the, the Master, the Master, they called him, back on the farm where most blacks were raised back in those days, if he hadn't taken liberties from my great great grandmother or whatever it happened to have been. I would not be this color today.$$Okay, so the great, great grandfather was the Master, right?$$Absolutely.$$Okay.$$Absolutely. During my research, that's what I found out, yes. And, of course, my grandparents both came out of Sasa, Georgia and Cusped, Georgia, and they moved to Jacksonville, Florida later.$$Okay, now, you were gonna tell us something about your great grandfather, your mother's [grand]father, right?$$Well, all I can tell you is that he was (laughter) white.$$No, that's the great grand--your mother's father was white, you're saying?$$No.$$Okay.$$My mother's grandfather and my great grandfather.$$Right, right, that's what I thought.$$I'm sorry, I--$$Now, do you know anything about your mother's parents?$$Yes, quite a bit, yes. They settled, as I mentioned in Jacksonville, Florida.$$Okay, okay.$$And, yes, you had another question about that?$$Well, their names, your mother's grandfather's name was--I mean your mother's father's name was what? Do you know?$$Snyder Bell, S-N-Y-$$Okay, Snyder, okay.$$Snyder Bell, uh-huh.$$Okay, so I'm missing a generation here somewhere. But I'm not, let's see, 'cause I got your--okay, I've got your, your grandmother was Stella Bell, grandfather, Snyder Bell--$$Oh, my grandmother's mother and father.$$Right, right.$$The only thing I know is, as I mentioned earlier, that he was white, and he took advantage of her mother.$$Okay, all right. Now, I got it.$$That's about all I can tell you about that.$$Okay, all right, 'cause I thought I'd skipped a generation, but, you know, but--$$Yes.$$Okay.$$And I might make it--not a real comparison between my paternal grandparents and my maternal, when we get to that part.$$Okay, all right.