Interview with James L. Hicks
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

YOU WERE A VETERAN OF WORLD WAR II AND YOU WERE TELLING ME ABOUT THE WAY THE BLACK VETERANS FELT AFTER WORLD WAR II. COULD YOU DESCRIBE THAT FOR ME, WHAT YOU AND OTHER BLACK VETERANS FELT AFTER THE WAR AND THE INFLUENCE THAT THEY HAD ON THE COMMUNITY?

James L. Hicks:

Well, I was a veteran and I spent three years overseas in New Guinea and I became an officer during that period and I had been eager to exercise what I considered authority and when I got authority it was spit and polish and we a, I was put back into the same unit that I had been serving as a first sergeant in and the, I was tough on the men and the men respected me because we were the only off… we were the only officer back there in that period in New Guinea. So when we got out, it was just one more step to say well look, we aren't going to take this anymore.** And a, believe me, a it, I knew that I had some followers and this was something that was understood by officers, you take the 369th and the 332nd, these people were officer material, and when they said you guys come on, well, they were talking to people who had been serving under white officers and without question and so when they said, follow me, there was no question about it, the veterans would follow them and pretty soon we looked around and there were civilians that came under influence and they picked up on it because he knows, he, he's, lets get behind him and a, I think that this is why so many people in the air forces for instance, got in top level positions because it was not only them, but it was the veterans behind them that would back them up in civilian life.