6888th

From the Washington DC VA Medical Center:

The oldest female Veteran, the high-spirited, fun-loving, amazing local celebrity, Ms. Alyce Dixon, died peacefully in her sleep at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Community Living Center. She was 108 years old. 

She is well-known in the community for her elegant sense of style, her long repertoire of eyebrow-raising jokes and very strong opinions. She credits her long life to sharing and caring. 

“I always shared what little I have, that’s why He let me live so long. I just believe in sharing and giving. If you have a little bit of something and someone else needs it, share,” she said. 

Ms. Dixon was born in 1907, when an American’s average life expectancy was only 47 years. She was born Alice Ellis in Boston. At the age of 16, she changed the spelling of her name to Alyce after seeing a picture show starring actress Alyce Mills. She lived life on her own terms from that day forward. 

She was married for a time, but divorced her husband over an $18 grocery bill. He found out she was sending money home to her family and put her on a strict allowance. This didn’t sit well for the independent young woman. 

“I found myself a job, an apartment and a roommate. I didn’t need him or his money,” she said. 

She later joined the military in 1943. She was among one of the first African-American women in the Army. As a member of the Women’s Army Corps, she was stationed in England and France where she played an important role in the postal service as part of the 6888th Battalion. 

After leaving the Army, she served the government for many years at the Census Bureau and for the Pentagon where she served as a purchasing agent, buying everything from pencils to airplanes. She retired from government service in 1973.

Previously: Cool Chicks from History post on the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

Fiction Week!

Tee submitted to medievalpoc:

MARE’S WAR by Tanita S. Davis, which is a work of historical fiction about the role of African American women in the European Theater in WWII, in the 6888th postal battalion. Here’s a good shot of both the paperback and the hardback covers. (https://thatcovergirl.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/mares_war_comparison.jpg) Here’s the Kirkus review: https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/tanita-s-davis-2/mares-war/

Thanks for giving us a chance to share!

“Chaplain William T. Green reads the benediction at the marriage ceremony of Pfc. Florence A. Collins, a WAC of the 6888th Postal Directory Battalion, to Cpl. William A. Johnson of the 1696th Labor Supervision Co. This is the first Negro marriage to be performed in the European Theater of Operations.”, 8/19/1945

Series: Photographs of American Military Activities, ca. 1918 - ca. 1981
Record Group 111: Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985

Members of the American 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, part of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC), United States Army, take part in a parade in the liberated city of Rouen to honor of Joan of Arc at the marketplace where she was burned at the stake. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was made up of 855 enlisted African-American women and officers. The segregated battalion was commanded by Major Charity Adams Earley, the highest ranking African-American woman in the military by the end of the war. The 6888th was the only all African-American, all female battalion. Rouen, Upper Normandy, Normandy, France. 27 May 1945.

“Frolicking in the snow at Camp Shanks are a group of Wacs, members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, who were redeployed from France to this country, and landed in New York City. / In the picture are Technical Sergeant Lillian Butterfield of Bayonne, New Jersey; Technician Fifth Grade Bernice F. Lewis of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Private First Class Hester Givens of Linden, New Jersey; Private First Class Benita F. Schuster of Manhattan, New York; Private First Class Genevieve Marshall of Washington, D.C.; Sergeant Mary E. Walker of New York City; Technician Fifth Grade Bernice Axam of Passaic, New Jersey; Private First Class Mary Young of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Private First Class Katherine Metoyer of Columbus, Ohio; Priviate First Class Dolly Hall of New York City; Technician Fifth Grade Beulah Patten of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Technician Fifth Grade Dorothy E. Lounds of Tuckahoe, New York and Private First Class Isofine Jacobs of Chester, Pennsylvania. 1-3-46.”

January 1946

More info: Cool Chicks from History post on the 6888th