Daniel Brooks was born in 1837, the son of a free black landowner in Cleveland County, NC. His mother, Winnie Brooks, sister of my gg-grandfather, Jerry Brooks, had “married” slave John Donahoe as early as 1830 just as his free grandmother, Sarah Brooks, had “married”  his slave grandfather a generation earlier. Daniel and his brother, Milford, felt pressured to join the Confederate Army and in 1861 enlisted in the 15th NC Infantry along with lifelong white friends who were sons of slave-owners, likely the  owners of their father and grandfather. Milford never returned from the war.  Daniel served as cook and wagon driver for four years while rooting for the North to win the war the entire time.

Richard Vance, my paternal grandmother’s brother-in-law is standing at the left.  I don’t know what the three gentlemen are doing in this photo taken in 1907, but they look like a vaudeville team. I do know that  Uncle Dick was the sharpest dresser I have ever known.  I never saw him dressed in anything but three-piece suits, usually with spats.  

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Colonel James E. P. Randall, like many individuals featured in this scrapbook, graduated from all-black Lucy Addison High School in Roanoke, Virginia. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Hampton Institute before joining the newly formed United States Air Force in 1949. He served as a fighter pilot in the Korean  and Vietnam Wars. His jet was shot down on a mission near Laos in 1968 though he was rescued by helicopter.  After the war, he became base commander of Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida before retiring in Colorado as a full colonel. The helmet that he lost during that jungle rescue under fire made national news when it was returned to him in 2013.

Democracy and White Supremacy: The tools of white supremacy were murder, terrorism, unjust law and intimidation. Though not every African-American family living in the south experienced murder or mayhem, all experienced injustice and intimidation. None experienced true democracy. Sometimes it was mere hostility of a white clerk in the downtown five and dime store. Or it was unwarranted stops, fines, arrests or beatings by white policemen resenting an African-American’s attire, automobile, attitude or advent into un-approved areas. In most cases, though, it was dreams dashed in school rooms and work places by white superiors who routinely played their race card to exhort the white privilege of preference over more deserving black individuals. The absolute worst instance of democracy ignored was the overthrow of  the duly-elected black government of Wilmington, NC and assassination of black leaders in 1898 by rioting whites. This was the only successful government overthrow in U. S. history. Incredibly, nothing was done about it. Shown below are more family and friends who were lucky enough to evade the murder and mayhem and strong enough to outlast the injustice and intimidation, each in his or her own way, including starting over in the north.

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The family of 3rd cousin Price Dealyon  Rice moved from Cleveland County to New Jersey before 1920,.  He became a World War II fighter pilot with the famed 99th Pursuit Squadron. As an original Tuskegee Airman, he flew 62 missions over North Africa, Sicily and Italy.

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The family of 4th cousin Naomi Jayne Mauney migrated to New Castle, Pennsylvania to escape Jim Crow. She was born there in 1926, graduated high school in 1943 and entered the Nursing Corps in June, 1945.

Camelot - 1898