Henry Hervey Oral History
Henry P. Hervey, Jr., was born on September 3, 1922, in New Orleans, Louisiana, but was raised in Chicago, Illinois. Hervey served active duty in the United States Air Force as a Tuskegee Airman in World War II and the Korean War. He married his wife, Gwendolyn, in 1943, and had two children, Diane and Ramon. Outside of his military career, Hervey attended Northwestern University School of Business and graduated with B.A. degrees in accounting and business administration. Hervey worked as a managing officer for the new Service Federal Savings and Loan Association, going from cashier to president at the Independence Bank of Chicago. After four years as a consultant to the National Bankers Association, he joined Chicago Metropolitan Assurance Company, retiring in 1996. Hervey died from cancer in 2003.
Henry P. Hervey, Jr., described his experiences as a Tuskegee Airman in World War II. In 1941, Hervey joined the Civil Air Patrol and, later, joined the Civilian Pilot Training Program. After his training, he was sworn into the United States Air Corps Reserves and awaited assignment to the Tuskegee Army Air Base. Hervey detailed his experiences with racism, segregation, and discrimination as a pilot in the Air Force and as a civilian in the American South. He discussed the segregated training and living quarters, as well as the treatment by white superiors and white counterparts onto African-Americans. Lastly, Hervey described his thoughts and feelings toward the Air Force and his experiences as a pilot. Overall, he said that he left with positive feelings, because it allowed him and other African Americans an opportunity to overcome negative stereotypes and advance through the military.
Interview by David Overy
Thank you to the Minnesota Digital Library for digitizing the audio for the interview, as well as the creation of the transcript.
St. Cloud State University, "Henry Hervey Oral History" (1993). World War II Veterans. 25.