Three years ago I posted a blog about some of the people I'd interviewed for Half-Truths. These experts as well as other men and women willingly shared their life stories with me in order to make my story more authentic.
Since I'm at the beta/sensitivity reader stage, I'm no longer interviewing folks but I'm still fact-checking and always keeping my eyes and ears open for material that will inform Half-Truths.
For example, I had written a scene about Sam, Lillie's older brother who had enlisted for the conflict in Korea. But as I was re-reading my manuscript I wondered:
a) Did Sam enlist or was he drafted? How would his choice affect my story? (Lillie's father came home from WWII and met with ridicule in North Carolina. How would he react to his only son enlisting in the service? In turn, how would that affect Lillie?)
b) Was there even a draft then?
Not finding the answer online, I turned to the Korean Veterans Club in my community.
|KWVA Chapter 169|
- One vet laughed about being mistakenly assigned to a black truck company.
- Another told me of how the troops were integrated during training on Parris Island, SC and Camp Lejeune in North Carolina (during the mid-50's), but as soon as the men stepped off the base, "segregation was rampant." He said that it was as if the blacks lived in two separate worlds. On base they were treated as equals, but if they left camp, they were in a different, biased world.
- One man's brother who had served in WWII said, "Treat Negroes with respect because we bleed the same red blood to keep this country free."
- One vet said he was accused of being a "McCarthy boy" because he wanted to go to college. The consensus in this group was that Communism wasn't talked about much at home.
- Truman knew the country wasn't ready for another war, that's why it was called a "police action."
- I was left with the overall impression that these men worked and fought with black men and that was their "normal".
Of course, I've read some of this accounts online and in articles. But it was different hearing these stories from the men who witnessed and lived them.
|I received this star from one of the vets.|
Stay tuned. Soon I'll be sharing stories and pictures of one of my African American experts in Charlotte who has meant so much to me.