Isaac Pope's 99th Birthday (03:27)
On December 17, 2016, friends and family celebrate "Uncle Ike" and reflect on his persona. Pope gives thanks to god for his long life and success.
Kinston, North Carolina (04:56)
Henry Louis Gates Jr. cites several factors that result in the end of black political power by 1901. Pope recalls farming tobacco and cotton, and growing up during the Great Depression; the KKK terrorizes blacks in the South.
Pope's Background (02:48)
Pope's mother instills the ideals of hope, activism, and freedom; she shares her joy of trains. Pope recalls his mother introducing him to music, faith, and nature.
Military Career (03:54)
The attack on Pearl Harbor occurs months after Pop enlists in the army. Pope undergoes field artillery training at Fort Sill and combat training at Camp Gruber.
Educating Soldiers (04:11)
Sgt. Eugene Wayman Jones and Jerome Caplan help educate men of the 969th Field Artillery Battalion. Pope, Jones, and Caplan form close bonds. Jim Crow laws prevent some of the men from voting; Jones and Caplan write to the president.
Heading to the Fight (03:51)
The 969th takes the Queen Mary to Liverpool and a train to Crewe Hall; several of the men join the artillery choir. The battalion provides fire support and lands on Utah Beach 33 days after D-Day.
Battle of the Bulge (08:03)
Caplan recalls the 969th's position in the Ardennes. The Germans launch their offensive; on December 16, 1944. On December 26, the 4th Armored Division resupplies the unit. The 969th is the first black unit to receive the Presidential Citation for Meritorious Service.
Going Home (08:15)
Pope encounters racism when he returns from war. He marries Nida Ellison and becomes a janitor for DuPont. He advocates for the union and joins the NAACP.
Community Service (05:46)
Pope volunteers for the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program, helps implement the Youth Employment Services Program, and is an active church member; he joins recovery efforts after Hurricane Floyd. Pope lives in the North Carolina State Veterans Home.
A museum in Bastogne, Belgium houses a display for the 969th. Pope considers protests in Charlottesville, NC. Friends reflect on Pope's inspiration and perseverance.
Legacy: Interracial Friendships (03:22)
Pope, Jones, and Caplan remain close friends after the war. Jones is active in his community until his death at age 50. Caplan supports his family and community. Caplan and Pope learn of a unique family connection.
Credits: Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century (02:56)
Credits: Isaac Pope: The Spirit of an American Century
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