DeQuan J. Abrom
February 14, 2014
On January 1, 1917 my great-grandfather was born into the world in Raleigh, North Carolina to adopted parents Richard and Ruth Abrams. The Abrams were a white Christian couple who also resided in Raleigh, NC. They named my grandfather James L. Abrams. Mrs. Abrams was incapable of having children during that time. His biological parents, who were both young, did not attend college; in fact they never finished high school. The name “Abrams” is a long-established is of early medieval English origin, and is a patronymic form of the Hebrew male given name "Avraham", originally "Abram", "high father", later changed to "Abraham", "father of a multitude (of nations)". This name was borne by the first of the Jewish patriarchs, ancestor of all the Israelites (Genesis 11-25), and Abraham was the name of a priest in the Domesday Book of 1086. This personal name was used to some extent among Christians in the Middle Ages, and has always been a popular Jewish given name. It was greatly revived after the Reformation, and was particularly popular in the Low Countries where it reverted to its original form of Abram, which is still used there, as it is in Wales. The first bearer of the extended form of the surname was John Abraham. Later, when my great-grandfather entered the military, his name was erroneously recorded as “Abrom” and has been that way ever since. In 1920, the Abrams relocated to Washington, DC were they resided for the rest of their lives. They thought it would be a little easier as an interracial family if they moved, what they considered, up north—but there really wasn’t much difference, so boy were they wrong. The city was still segregated but the scenes weren’t as harsh as the South. Mr. Abrams was a foreman for a construction company which earned a pretty good living and Mrs. Abrams was a housewife. They moved into the area of the city which is now known as the Shaw-Howard Community. That community today is the home of several historical landmarks such as Ben’s Chili Bowl, the Lincoln Theatre and the Howard Theatre. The Abrams Family became the first interracial family to move in that neighborhood. My great-grandfather was able to attend elementary , junior high and high schools all in the Nations Capital however, just because he was apart of an interracial family still did not exclude him from the segration within the schools. The classrooms were seperated by color, as well as the bathrooms and water fountains. As a young kid, James often hung out in the streets with his friends and partied a lot. He became a heavy smoker with a little taste for alcohol. Growing up in the city , he often wandered to the more poverish neighborhoods where he hung out with the wrong crown and was introduced to a lot of bad things such as drugs, gambling and fighting. Around the house, he was responsible for many chores such as mowing the lawn and taking out the trash. On November 12, 1930, at the age of 18, James was drafted into the Army as all young 18 year old men were forced to do during that time. He later fought in World War II, the Battle of Pearl Harbor at the age of 27. It is generally considered to have lasted from 1939 to 1945, although some conflicts in Asia that are commonly viewed as becoming part of the world war had begun earlier than 1939. It involved the vast majority of the world's nations including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, and directly involved more than 100 million people, from more than 30 different countries. In a state of "total war", the major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, erasing the distinction between civilian and military resources. Marked by mass deaths of civilians, including the Holocaust and the first use of...
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