Saturday, April 21, 2007

Moving to DC--Working for the War Department--1941

In the spring of 1941, I took a Civil Service clerk-typist examination and as a result, received an appointment and went to work for the War Department in Washington, D.C.

It surely was nice to have my sister there to meet me and help me to find a place to live. She was living in a boarding house on New Hampshire Avenue and found me a boarding house close by her. Nina had met Ed Tull, who was from Jonesboro and a friend of Jim Langley, my high school basketball coach.. Ed, who worked for the Agriculture Department, was attending American University at night, studying for the ministry. He and Nina were engaged and were married in August of 1941. Ed was chosen to be pastor of the Brookmont, Md., Baptist Church and they moved into an apartment there. About a month later, I had the opportunity to board with Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson, who were members of Ed's church. They had a large home in Brookmont and their children had already married and left home, so Mrs. Donaldson made her occupation of running the boarding house in her home. Mr. Donaldson was a machinist at the Washington Naval Yards, and a couple of boys that worked with him were already boarding with them. I had a friend, Floyd Vaughn from Morgan City, Louisiana who had gone to work at the same time with me that moved into Donaldsons' as my roommate. We did not have an automobile but the streetcars from Washington came through Georgetown on the Cabin John Line, and we could travel anywhere in the District by streetcar. Vaughn and I both worked in the office of the Chief of Finance of the War Department. He was in the Supply branch and I was in Publications branch and both of our superiors were black men who had been with the Bureau for many years. Vaughn had attended LSU and was a reserve pilot in the ROTC reserve program. In the publications branch, it was my job to cut stencils and make mimeograph copies of Army and Finance Regulations and to mail them out to all Finance Officers in the field. We maintained a mailing list of all Finance Officers on addresso-graph plates, which we cut on grapho-type machines and would mail any new Regulation, Executive Orders or General Accounting office orders to the Finance-Officers throughout the world. I worked about six months in Publications and received a promotion to the Advisory and Regulations Division of the Bureau. In this job, I corresponded directly with the Finance Officers in the field regarding pay allowances and gratuities if the officer had questions regarding entitlement or interpretations of the regulations.

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