Chapter One: Family
…he had built his home in 1960/61, on the side of a hill, overlooking downtown San Diego, approximately five miles from the center of town and directly below the flight path for Lindbergh Field. He originally tried to buy land in La Jolla, but because he was black, the owners of the land wouldn’t sell to him. He then tried to buy land over looking Hwy 94, across the street from Johnson Elementary School in Southeast San Diego, but once again was denied because he was black. He was finally able to purchase land and build his home (one that he designed) about a mile or two farther down the road from where the Hwy 94 lot had been for sale. Because he was black, he had to put $10,000 down and take a mortgage of 7.5% when other military veterans were able to purchase homes with $0 down and a 4.5% mortgage. At the time, the cost for constructing his home was about $20,000 (equivalent to $165,452.35 2018 purchasing power.1)
It was that same evening, sitting on the porch, that he began to relate to me some of the stories of being a black soldier in the U.S. Army during WW II. As he shared one story after another,…
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