African American Lives 2 -- Hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
In Search of Our Roots -- Buy the companion book now from ShopPBS
Sharing Stories: One Family's Story
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father South Carolina and England/France 1944 Smoaks, South Carolina Chris Rock was on Oprah talking about my great great grandfather/my father

My father, Jacob Ceasar Tingman, was born Jacob Julius Ceasar Tingman. Growing up I always knew about Julius Ceasar Tingman, but the details of his life were sketchy until this show was aired. Julius Ceasar Tingman was my father's great grandfather. Julius had two sons, Julius and Thomas, who married two Warren sisters, Julia and Ella. My father's mother, Julia, died shortly after his birth, but before she died she arranged for her sister, Ella, to raise young Jacob. Jacob became an educator and retired as the assistant superintendent of Freeport (NY) public schools.

Jacob was drafted in WWII and here is a wonderful story about how almost landing on D-Day changed his life. While in England, staging for the D-Day invasion, the restless troops often got into fights when white and black troops were in the same social setting. According to my father, a fight broke out between soldiers in his unit and some white soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division. One of the white soldiers was killed in the fight, so the army locked down both units (probably at the company level) so that a formal investigation could be conducted. Once the investigation was completed, the soldiers were put back into the flow of landing forces at Omaha Beach. The invasion took place while the investigation was being conducted and caused my father to land at Omaha beach 3 weeks after D-Day. He said that when he saw the destruction and all the "little white crosses" he knew that he would not have survived that terrible day and that God had spared him for a reason. My father became an educator as a result of the experience and helped more children than can be counted. He was helping educate children until the day he died.

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Major corporate funding for African American Lives 2 and its outreach initiatives is provided by The Coca-Cola Company and Johnson & Johnson. Additional corporate funding is provided by Buick.
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