WILMINGTON -- One man -- though not exactly a part of black history -- makes it his work to honor those who are. Wilbur Jones has dedicated his life to preserving stories from World War II history. As a retired Navy captain and historian, Jones now spends his time writing about the past. He dedicates even more time to highlighting the impact of African-Americans in the war, stories few hear about. Jones said, "The role of blacks in the armed forces and on the home front, and your either one or the other was exemplary." More than two million African-American men registered for the draft for World War II and even more black women served as volunteers. These brave men and women served their country at time when their country didn't serve them. Many experienced discrimination and segregation. "World War II was four years," Jones said. "Four years, and it was a completely different time of segregation at the time and World War II was momentous event in human history, and Wilmington played a big part in it, we were very active in the war efforts, supporting in the United States." Jones was able to locate many African-American veterans from Wilmington, like Anthony Owens who served in the army during World War II. He also can recall a time where some African-American soldiers home from the war became local heroes as well. Owens said, "I remember when St. Luke's AME Zion Church burned to the ground in 1944, and if it hadn't been for a lot of solider who were in town that weekend to help put the fire out maybe the whole block would have gone down." With valuable contributions to the war effort, Jones says black history is something everyone can appreciate. To date, Jones has written 16 books about World War II.
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