Ellis J. Bagley Tuskegee Airmen Second World War correspondence
This collection contains scans of two letters from 2nd Lt., A/C Ellis J. Bagley, USAAF to his cousin Mary Harrison while training with the Tuskegee Airmen during the Second World War. Also included is one scan of a letter signed by twenty-one of the Tuskegee Airmen on the subject of racial discrimination and violation of expressed war department policies. The original letters from Lt. Bagley are located at the Tuskegee Airmen Association and the original multi-signed letter is located in the National Archives.
The first letter to Mary is dated March 22, 1944 from Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama and asks about her schooling. He mentions expecting to go to evening school until his plans changed when he joined the Army and that he finds training fairly easy, completing pre-flight and expecting to leave for aerial gunnery school in Florida before going to Hondo Field in Texas. He also asks about how civilians are getting along during the hardships of war; noting that they only get meat twice a week, the gas is being used by the Air Force and the shoes are being used by the "doughboys." The letter is signed "Rome" or "Romee."
Lt. Bagley's second letter dated June 7, 1944 was sent from Hondo Field at the Army Air Forces Navigation School. In it he responds to her answers about civilian life, though without her letters the exchange is somewhat lost. He hopes to return home on furlough after training but does not expect to since previous graduates were immediately attached to tactical units. He also asks about Mary's involvement as Secretary of the BFHC [sic] in Brooklyn, even though she lives in the Bronx (it is unclear what the BFHC organization was). This letter is signed "Jerome."
The last letter, of which Lt. Bagley was a signatory, was dated September 24, 1944 at Midland Army Air Field, Texas and addressed to the Inspector General, War Department in Washington, D.C. The subject line reads, "Racial Discrimination and Violation of Expressed War Department Policies." In the letter, grievances are laid out regarding the treatment of "coloured officers" by senior officers, namely the Base Commander Colonel Charles H. Dowman. These grievances are laid out as being in contradiction with War Department and Army policy and the letter is signed by the following twenty-one signatories:
2nd Lt., FA Robert Payton
F/O, AC, Daniel Keel
2nd Lt., Inf. Coleman A. Young
1st Lt., F.A. Carl O. Roach
2nd Lt., AC Willard W. Savoy
2nd Lt., AC Lawrence C. Hawkins
2nd Lt., AC Sheldon Weaver
2nd Lt., AC Albert Gaines
2nd Lt., AC Perry W. Lindsey
2nd Lt., AC Roger V. Pines
F/O, AC Marcel Clyne
2nd Lt., AC Louis H. Anderson
2nd Lt., AC Walter Boags
2nd Lt., AC Richard Jennings
F/O, AC George E. Carroll
2nd Lt., AC Cyril O. Burke, Jr.
2nd Lt., AC Glenn L. Head
F/O, AC Arthur H. Bland
2nd Lt., CAC Leonard E. Williams
2nd Lt., AC Edward V. Hipps
F/O, AC James C. Warren
- 1944 March 22 - 1944 September 24
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Biographical / Historical
Second Lieutenant, Airman Cadet Ellis Jerome Bagley, United States Army Air Force (12/12/1922 - 4/13/1999) was born in Harlem in the burrough of Manhattan, New York, New York. He attended New York City Public Schools and graduated from Townsend Harris High School in Manhattan in 1939. He went on to City College and majored in Accounting but dropped out after two years.
Lt. Bagley went by Jerome or "Romee" and trained with the Bombardier-Navigator Class, Cadet Detachment, Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama before training in Florida and then Hondo Field in Texas. He served during the war as a Navigator Bombardier from 1944 to 1946. On June 3, 1948 he married Willene Smalls and they had two children, Ellis Jr. and Celeste. Ellis worked after the war at Pratt and Whitney, a division of United Technologies, for over thirty years, beginning his career as a sheet metal mechanic and later promoted to cost reduction analyst. He passed away on April 13, 1999.
3 Files (3 pdf files)
Language of Materials
This collection contains scans of two letters from A/C Ellis J. Bagley, USAAF to his cousin Mary Harrison while training with the Tuskegee Airmen during the Second World War. Also included is one scan of a letter signed by twenty of the Tuskegee Airmen on the subject of racial discrimination and violation of expressed war department policies, original located at the National Archives.
This collection is arranged chronologically.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Gift of Celeste Bagley.
- Correspondence -- World War, 1939-1945 Subject Source: Local sources
- United States -- Army -- Air Forces Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- United States -- Race Relations Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- World War (1939-1945) Subject Source: Library of Congress Subject Headings
- Finding Aid for the Ellis J. Bagley Tuskegee Airmen Second World War correspondence
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