I posted the photograph on the left in 2010 in Wordless Wednesday – Mystery Couple. At the time I didn’t know who either of them were and wasn’t sure about the uniform he was wearing. By googling I found that it was a World War 1 army dress uniform.
I posted the photo on the left a couple of months ago in Theresa Pearl’s Birthday – March 10, 1919. My cousin was scanning and sending me old photographs and this was one of them. Although only one of the children was labeled I knew who the other was because of other photos. I think that is probably their mother.
Today I was looking on Ancestry.com trying to fill in some of the gaps and noticed there was a little waving leaf next to Uncle Hugh Reed’s brother-in-law, Clifford Edison Young. I decided to look and see what they had. There were several historical records, including a record of burial in the Los Angeles National Cemetery. It said that he was a Sergent in the United States Army during World War 1.
I thought of the photo of the mystery man in uniform immediately. I found the photograph and looked at it. I thought that the woman next to him looked like the woman with the two children – Blanche Young Reed. I am convinced that the soldier is Clifford but I’m not sure about the woman because Blanche had three younger sisters. Clifford was two years younger than she was and the three sisters were younger than they were. The sister in the picture looks younger than the soldier to me so I think that it was Nellie, Bessie or Elizabeth. Perhaps there is another picture that will turn up and completely solve the mystery.
“Victor Tulane, chairman in charge of the negro (sic) patriotic demonstration to be held here next Wenesday, prior to the registration of the classes of 13-21 and 31-45, has issued the following appeal for a 100 per cent registration to the members of his race:
“As chairman of the colored division of the great “Man Power” celebration, which is to be held in Montgomery Wednesday afternoon, September 11, I desire to take this opportunity to urge all colored male citizens between the ages of 8 and 44 years, who are not already registered, to take advantage of the privilege of participating in this parade.
“Our loyalty and patriotism as a race cannot be questioned.
“We have gladly responded to every call that our country has made upon us during the present struggle for world democracy, and have also demonstrated our loyalty in every previous war in which our country has been engaged.
“The purpose of this Man Power celebration is to arouse public enthusiasm and patriotism so that on registration day, Thursday, September 12, Montgomery and Montgomery county will be successful in having a 100 percent registration of all male citizens within the new draft limit.
With this end in view I beg to impress upon our ministers and race leaders, in the city and throughout the county, to exert their broad influence in helping to make this undertaking a success.”
I was going to add some facts and figures about how many lynchings of black people took place in the US and Alabama during September of 1918 and that the men he was calling on to step forward and register could not vote or sit where they liked on the streetcars. Not to mention the large upswing in lynchings after WW1, especially of returning soldiers wearing their uniforms. Looking at the statistics and the pictures and thinking about it got too depressing. Did you know they sold postcards of actual lynchings? That one had slipped by me. So, I decided to just run the story and the photo of Victor Tulane and remind you of a few links to letters written in 1918 by young men who were called up or about to be, “Migration story part 2 – Letters from home – Montgomery to Detroit 1918” and “To be Where You can Breathe a Little Freedom”. And to stories of “Victor H. Tulane Dead” and “He Had Hidden Him Under The Floor“.