Portraits of Service:
Portsmouth African Americans in the Military, 1946 – 1967

Select Photographs from the Lee Rodgers Collection of the Portsmouth Public Library

Lee Rodgers, (1899 – 1969) was a chronicler of mid-20th century black life in Portsmouth through his column, “Colored Notes,” published in the Portsmouth Star newspaper. Through Rodgers “Notes,” readers got a summary of African American news, names, and happenings in Portsmouth in the post-WWII period. The Lee Rodgers Collection of historic photographs is housed at the main branch of the Portsmouth Public Library and is invaluable to researchers and history lovers today.

During the postwar period, “Colored Notes” published pictures like these so family and friends in Portsmouth could read about the achievements of their service members.

BARBARA J. SANFORD

BARBARA J. SANFORD is promoted to major. She is presently attending the Student Officer Career Course, Fort McLellan, Alabama. Pinning the Gold Leaf on Major Sanford is Lt. Colonel Elizabeth H. Branch (left), Commanding Officer, U.S. Women’s Army Corps and Center, Fort McLellan, Ala., and Captain Patricia S. Ernest, fellow student of Major Sanford.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, March 9, 1967.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00020

EXERCISE SNOW STORM

Camp Drum, N.Y. Cpl. Mary E. Williams – Portsmouth; Pvt. Juanita Mason – Richmond; Sgt. Ardella Pitts – Augusta, Ga., 1953.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00021

PRIVATE EVELYN RIDLEY

PRIVATE EVELYN RIDLEY, Portsmouth WAC who recently completed basic training at the new Women’s Army Corps Center, at Fort McClellan, Ala. She has been assigned to the newly instituted Clerical Procedures and Typing Course there. Graduate of Southampton Community Training School at Courtland, VA., she is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Ridley of 21 Jeffrey Wilson Homes.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, December 12, 1954.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00023

MISS DOROTHY L. HAROLD

MISS DOROTHY L. HAROLD, Portsmouth girl who is completing her Air Force basic airman indoctrination course at Lackland Air Force Base, near San Antonio, Texas, “Gateway to the Air Force.” Her training is preparing her for entrance into the air force technical training and for assignments to specialized work.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, November 30, 1952.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00026

PVT. LOIS C. BROWN

COMPLETES ‘BASIC’—PVT. LOIS C. BROWN of Portsmouth recently completed eight weeks of basic training at the Women’s Army Corps Center, Fort McClellan, Ala. Daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Claude H. Brown of 1213 Summit Ave., she matriculated at Norcom High School and Morgan State College, Baltimore.

Published in the “Colored News” section of the Portsmouth Star, July 2, 1957.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00034

PVT. BETTY P. HEGGIE

MEDICAL FIELD SERVICE—PVT. BETTY P. HEGGIE, of Portsmouth, who has completed basic training at the Women’s Army Corps Center at Fort McClellan, Ala., is now on duty as a student at the Medical Field Service School at Fort Sam Houston, Tex. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Johnnie Heggie, 1301-F County Street, Barbour Park, Portsmouth.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, February 3, 1956.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00031

PVT. JUNE E. DOVE

PVT. JUNE E. DOVE, who has just completed basic training at the Women’s Army corps Center, Fort McLellan, Ala, where all new members of the WAC are received, processed, classified and trained for army life. Pvt. Dove has been transferred to the Southeastern Signal School, at Camp Gordon, Ga. Graduate of Norcom High School, she is the daughter of Mrs. Eva Dove of 52 Gosport Road.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, February 20, 1955.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00032

ELIJAH & TROY TURNER

NAVY STEWARD FIRST CLASS ELIJAH TURNER AND WIFE TROY of 1307 Washington St., Portsmouth, Va., along with guests Marilyn Maultsby of 1312 Effingham St., Portsmouth, and Mary Griffin of 1202 Effingham St., Portsmouth, takes time out to relax while on board the Service Force3 Attack Cargo Ship USS Wyandot for a one-day dependents cruise off the Virginia Capes.

Published in the “Colored News” section of the Portsmouth Star, October 16, 1957.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00040

CHARLIE WHITE

CHARLIE WHITE receiving the Naval Reserve Medal from an unidentified officer, 1957.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00042

EDWARD SMITH

EDWARD SMITH, Steward 3rd Class, USN, who was reported as having recently arrived at the U.S. Naval Receiving Station, Norfolk, to await further assignment to a Naval unit in the Atlantic area. His address is given as 735 Columbia Street, the husband of Mrs. Lina Smith.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, September 29, 1953.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00054

WILLIARD T. TAYLOR

WILLIARD T. TAYLOR, Seaman Second Class, holding a lifesaver from the U.S.S. Caperton, DD 650, c. 1955.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00057

RALPH W. HODGES

RALPH W. HODGES, USN, Commisaryman First Class who recently arrived at the Naval Receiving Station, Norfolk, to await further assignment to a naval unit in the Atlantic area. He is the husband of Mrs. Louise Hodges of 55 Grant Street, Portsmouth, and relatives reside on Claiborne Avenue in Norfolk.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, February 3, 1955.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00060

COTY SEARCY

COTY SEARCY, Steward 1C, USN, recently arrived at the Naval Receiving Station, Norfolk, to be transferred to a unit of the Atlantic Fleet. He is the husband of Mrs. Magdalene Searcy of 120 Ivey St., Portsmouth.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, June 12, 1956.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00070

CHARLES E. GRAY

CHARLES E. GRAY arrived recently at the Naval Receiving Station, Norfolk, to be transferred to the USS Mississippi. A seaman apprentice, he is the nephew of Mrs. Auguste Baines of 2805 Gosport Rd., Portsmouth.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, June 13, 1956.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00071

WADE N. THEUS

WADE N. THEUS, Steward Third Class, USN, recently received an honorable discharge from the Navy at the Naval Receiving Station, Norfolk. His residence is given as Building 112, apartment 525 B, Carver Homes, and he is the husband of Mrs. Henrietta Theus.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, October 25, 1953.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00074

VANDERBILT W. BRIGGS

VANDERBILT W. BRIGGS, son of Mrs. G.M. Briggs, 112 Noble St., Portsmouth, Va., temporarily stationed aboard the U.S.S. Gasconade, which will participate in the atomic bomb test on Bikini Atoll, 1946.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00076

HENRY HARVEY

HENRY HARVEY, Steward 3C, USN, who was recently reported at the U.S. naval Receiving Station, Norfolk, awaiting further assignment to a Naval Unit in the Atlantic area. His address is given as 319 Columbia Street, and his wife is Mrs. Mary Harvey.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, September 30, 1953.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00077

SGT. HARVEY F. MORGAN, JR.

SGT. HARVEY F. MORGAN, JR. Portsmouth soldier standing guard outside of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’ office at Berlin Command Headquarters during the Big Four Foreign Ministers’ talks. Sgt. Morgan is stationed at Goppingen as a squad leader with the 28th Military Police Company, and he was selected for special duty during the Berlin Conference because of his neatness, soldierly bearing and outstanding performance of duty. His wife is Mrs. Dorothy Morgan, formerly of Cassino Street, San Francisco, and he is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey F. Morgan of 21 Emerson Street, Douglass Park, Portsmouth. Veteran of World War II, he has been in Europe since July 1952.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, February 16, 1954.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00103

MARY E. WILLIAMS

GETS FIRST LIEUTENANT BARS—Second Lt. Mary E. Williams, Assistant Special Service Officer at Fort Lawton, Washington, is shown receiving her first lieutenant’s bars in the Women’s Army Corps from Col. Hal Randall, Executive Officer of the U.S. Army Military District, State of Washington; and 1st Lt. Jo Anne Pauley of the WAC. Lt. Williams is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Augustus Williams of 923 Mt. Vernon Ave., August 1957.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00110

CORNELL RUFFIN

CORNELL RUFFIN, Co. D, 18th Battalion, 1st Regt., Mrs. Pearl Carr, Portsmouth, Va., Cleveland Street, Mother.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, April 8, 1959.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00138

CLARENCE R. INGRAM

PVT. CLARENCE R. INGRAM, St. Juliens Creek paratrooper who recently completed a month’s special training as a parachutist at Fort Benning, Ga. He has been in the service since last January, prior to which he was a truck driver for the Star Band Company of Portsmouth. He is the son of Mrs. Julia Holloway, and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Griffin, of St. Juliens Creek.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, August 24, 1953.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00139

LENWOOD R. BAZEMORE

SGT. LENWOOD R. BAZEMORE, Portsmouth soldier who has been promoted to the grade of Sergeant First Class at Fort McClellan, Ala. Veteran of eight and a half years of military service, he is with the Post’s Special Services Section.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, November 25, 1952.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00153

JAMES L. STEPHENSON & W.M. CARTER

JUST BEFORE GOING UP FOR A PARACHUTE JUMP, Cpl. James L. Stephenson (left) of Portsmouth and Cpl. W.M. Carter of Edenton, N.C. prepare their equipment for a practice parachute jump at Camp Drum, N.Y., where they are participating in Exercise Snow Storm, the Army’s winter training program emphasizing the use of special cold weather equipment. Cpl. Stephenson, whose wife, Mrs. Madie Stephenson, lives in Chapel Hill, N.C., is the son of Mrs. Elizabeth S. McCall of 1900 Chestnut Street, Portsmouth. Cpl. Carter is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Carter of route 1, Edenton. Both men are serving with Battery A, 80th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, March 8, 1953.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00190

ALVIN R. BOWSER

AIRMAN ALVIN R. BOWSER of Portsmouth is undergoing his second phase of basic training at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio, Tex. He is attached to the 3711th Basic Military Training Squadron of the 3720th BMT Group. He is the son of Mrs. Carrie M. Browser of 166 Gosport Rd., Truxtun.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, December 23, 1957.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00211

RONEY O. THOMAS

SGT. RONEY O. THOMAS, one of the first to be taken a prisoner by the Reds in the Korean conflict, he was held captive for 32 months. He was first taken in 1950 when fanatic Red hordes overran UN positions in the early days of the fighting. In good health and in good spirits, his repatriation was followed by his return home to be received with rejoicing by his mother, Mrs. Mahalie Thomas, of 82 Deep Creek Road, St. Juliens Creek, and other members of the family. He is the brother of Mrs. Catherine Washington and of Sgt. Bessie Thomas, WAC, stationed at Camp Pickett. He will be reassigned to Army duty following his furlough.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, September 6, 1953.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00232

ALBERT M. WARD

ALBERT M. WARD is shown wearing his purple heart he was awarded for being wounded in Korea.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, September 1, 1950.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00233

IVORY WEBB

PVT. IVORY WEBB, Portsmouth soldier, who has been receiving training with the Sixth Armored Division at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. His first eight weeks were taken up with the fundamentals of Army life and the use of infantry weapons, and then he faced an additional eight weeks of engineer training. His address is given as 1304 London Street.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, August 25, 1952.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00241

MELVIN L. GARRETT

A/B MELVIN L. GARRETT, Portsmouth airman, is taking the Warehouse Supply specialist Course at Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming. The son of Mrs. Margaret Garrett, he will complete his basic training while attending technical school, following which he will assume duties with the Air Force in his field of specialty.

Published in the “Colored Notes” section of the Portsmouth Star, May 30, 1956.

Portsmouth Public Library, Lee Rodgers Collection (VA 975.5522 Rodgers), POR/ROD 00249