On Friday, Oct. 13, the Mobile Parks and Recreation Department (MPRD) and the family of Mr. Taylor Howard will celebrate the 105th birthday of the World War II Veteran, Buffalo Soldier and longtime civil rights advocate.
Though he spent much of his adult life in Mississippi, Taylor Howard was born in Alabama in 1918 and currently resides in a medical foster home for U.S. Veterans in Mobile. He’s been an active participant at Parkway Senior Center for the past nine years. His caregivers and family are working with MPRD to celebrate Howard’s birthday at the Parkway Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 13, at noon. The City of Mobile’s Community Affairs team will also recognize Howard and his contributions to the Gulf Coast with a “Feel Good Friday” Award.
Biography of Taylor Howard:
Taylor Howard was born in 1918 and spent his early years on a farm in Choctaw County, Alabama. As one of 10 children, Howard worked with the Progress Administration, a federally sponsored program that employed many Americans during the Great Depression, before joining the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1937. As a young man, he cut timber, cleaned ditches and built roads in Mississippi. Howard was drafted into the U.S. Army and served in the 92nd Infantry during the height of World War II. He was a Buffalo Soldier who fought on the front lines in Italy and served in Germany, France and Belgium as a rifleman and sharpshooter.
After the war, he returned to Mississippi and fought for freedom and equality for African Americans. He helped bring the Head Start program to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and established the first Neighborhood Watch program in his longtime home of Gulfport, Mississippi. He also served as the Vice President of the NAACP’s Gulfport Chapter. With the help of his brother, Howard started a construction business that built many houses and churches along the Gulf Coast. The brothers also operated a pair of movie theaters that made films and cinema accessible to many Gulfport residents who weren’t allowed in segregated theaters at the time. In 2015, Howard was recognized by the National World War II Museum for his service during the war and community efforts after his military service. You can find a video of his interview in the Museum’s Digital Collection at: ww2online.org/view/taylor-howard.