NYU Black Renaissance Noire Fall 2015 Volume 15.2 - Page 47

“So bull-headed, all of you. You guys never back down or away from anything.” “I will, with God’s help.” “We will do what we must. That’s all I can promise. The world’s freedom is at stake. After all, we are The Jive Four.” He smiled at distant memories. Eva had even sung with them on occasion. “Al, promise me you’ll be careful. Look out for my Carlos.” “Too bad Carlos is an atheist.” “Nobody’s perfect, especially your brother. Baby? What do you say we take a moment and create a memory we won’t soon forget?” “Freedom for the world? Here in America they treat you like the enemy? Signs all over the South saying, ‘No Jews, no dogs and no niggers allowed.’” “Al, you know we have no time.” “Wait until I’m in the pulpit preaching. You’ll see a change, mi amor.” “Al, we deserve it. Venga conmigo mi amor.” They hugged and kissed and began to unbutton each other’s clothes. “Reverend Al. I like the sound of that. I’ll pray for you.” Eva felt light-headed and swooned. Al quickly straightened her up. “Still we got to git, while the gittin’ is good.” Later, Jerome dressed as a woman and got in the trunk until they were miles away from Jacksonville. He climbed in the front seat when they passed into Virginia. When they reached the Capital, he quickly changed in the back seat of the car. The Klan did come looking for Jerome and Eva. Eventually they settled for another colored man who was nowhere near Jacksonville when the incident took place. After beating him with chains, they let his family have him. He was never the same after that. Al went to the Pacific in the Ammunition and Depot Battalions. He and his buddies saw action in all the amphibian landings from Guadalcanal to Okinawa. They fought for their country. Every place was horrible, but especially Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Remarkably they lived to talk about it, but mainly amongst themselves. Only Al returned to Jacksonville and to Montford Point for its closing in ‘49. It was nearly three decades before Jim Crow was dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the South. Many say he’s still there, disguised as James Crow, Esq. n BLACK RENAISSANCE NOIRE “You okay? Let’s sit in the living room.” He led her to the couch. The Cab Calloway record was at its end. Al placed the arm on its holder. 45 “I’m no coward.” He thought about his friends who joined the Marines after he was drafted. They had gigged as jazz musicians together in New York. “Rueben, Carlos and Monty…We’ll be there for each other. Eva, we’ll watch each other’s back.”