Evie Johnson -
I was a lucky young woman with a handsome husband who adored me and a nice flat, which I decorated all by myself. Every evening before my husband Al returned home from work, I’d dress up and he would tell me how beautiful I looked. This continued even after I had two children -- Little Al, the oldest, and Susie. So, one day, when my Al told me that he wanted to join the Army to make a better life for us, I thought he had gone mad. How could he think of leaving me to manage on my own? I was simply terrified.
al Johnson -
When my Pa took me out of school after fourth grade, I became bitter toward him. I didn’t want to end up a worn-out sharecropper like most of the colored men in Lexington, VA. I learned whatever I could on my own as a sailor on a merchant ship. I also hitch-hiked across America and did a stint in the Navy. Then I met the woman of my dreams. She was way too good for me, but I won her heart and vowed I’d do anything to keep her happy, even shovel a million tons of coal.
Little Al -
I was only six when Dad went overseas to fight the evil Germans, leaving me and Susie in the care of Mother. I was afraid for him, so I prayed every night for God to bring him home safely. I idolized my Dad. He had a dream for me. Even when I was a little kid, he would say, “Son, I want you to go to college. I may not have the money to send you, but I want you to go.” As I grew older, his dream became mine.