By Ashlyn Mitchell
MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) — There are 105 candles on a birthday cake for one very special member of our community.
This past Friday, friends and family celebrated Taylor Howard, a World War II veteran, Buffalo soldier and civil rights advocate.
We caught up with Howard at his birthday party. Even now, he echoes his life mission.
“Color of skin ain’t gonna make no difference because if you’re a human, you can’t be nothing but a human,” he said.
Howard’s children reminisced over his legacy.
“He believed in being attentive to those in need. It doesn’t matter if you were without- we watched our dad give to those that didn’t have, help those that did need help, and it didn’t make a difference who it was—he was concerned about the community,” said Lettie Howard Alexander, daughter of Mr. Howard.
“When he came back from the war, he could not vote and he just felt that the civic duty he served his country that he should be allowed to carry out that civic duty so he was always involved in getting the right to vote,” added Howard’s other daughter, Sandra Howard Adams.
Among his many achievements, Howard opened a movie theater for Gulfport residents who weren’t allowed in certain theaters at the time due to segregation.
“He built a movie theater from the ground up because he’s a contractor by trade- from the ground up in two communities in the city of Gulfport,” said Sandra. “It was just to give the children the right to go in and eat popcorn and chili dogs and watch a movie like everyone else. We worked in his movie theater.”
Howard’s family says that doesn’t even scratch the surface of his service.
“From the time we were little- he was just always doing something. One of our schools was not in the bus district. He bought vehicles to take the children to school,” added Sandra.
Meanwhile, we asked Howard for his best advice.
“Go in peace and pray. Try your best to make peace with every color and climb,” he concluded.
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