“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)

Julius Ellsberry

Julius Ellsberry Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller (HMC, USN, Ret.)
1. Julius Ellsberry Marker
Inscription. In dedication to Julius Ellsberry, the first Black Alabama man to die in World War II; born Birmingham, Ala, 1922.

Enlisted in the U.S. Navy, 1940; First Class Mate [sic] Attendant aboard battleship Oklahoma in the Battle of Pearl Harbor, did sacrifice his life to save his shipmates, December 7, 1941.
Location. 33° 30.942′ N, 86° 48.82′ W. Marker is in Birmingham, Alabama, in Jefferson County. Marker can be reached from 16th Street North north of 5th Avenue. Click for map. Located inside Kelly Ingram Park which is between 16th and 17th Streets, North; and 5th and 6th Avenues (south of I-20 and east of I-65). It is diagonally northeast (across the intersection) from the 16th Street Baptist Church National Historic Landmark. Marker is at or near this postal address: 520 16th Street, North, Birmingham AL 35203, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Dr. Ruth J. Jackson (a few steps from this marker); Carrie A. Tuggle (a few steps from this marker); Pauline Bray Fletcher (a few steps from this marker); Foot Soldier Tribute (within shouting distance of this marker); Arthur D. Shores
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (left) and 16th Street Baptist Church (rear) Photo, Click for full size
By Richard E. Miller, 1999
2. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute (left) and 16th Street Baptist Church (rear)
View from Kelly Ingram Park near Julius Ellsberry marker.
(within shouting distance of this marker); The Foot Soldiers (within shouting distance of this marker); The Children's Crusade (within shouting distance of this marker); Ground Zero (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Birmingham.
More about this marker. Adjacent to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, amidst heroic outdoor statuary commemorating the triumphant Civil Rights Campaign of 1963.
Regarding Julius Ellsberry. Mess Attendant First Class (MAtt1/c) Julius Ellsberry was one of 62 Black men killed in the Battle of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Along with 17 men killed who were of Guamanian or Filipino extraction, they were all members of the navy’s racially segregated messman/steward branch. Eighteen of these men (including Johnnie C. Laurie of Alabama) died with Ellsberry aboard USS Oklahoma together with 315 White enlisted men and 20 officers.

Ellsberry’s name was among the first of the battle’s fatalities’ to be leaked to the press, and he was immediately identified as the first Alabamian to be killed in WWII. When a subsequent navy press release reported the heroism of an un-named Black mess attendant, many also connected Ellsberry’s name to this individual who was subsequently identified as Texas-born, MAtt2/c Doris Miller of the USS West Virginia.

Ellsberry’s status as the first Alabama servicemember killed in action was re-affirmed in Birmingham after the war, and a city park in a Black section of the city was eventually named in his honor. Ultimately, his memorial marker was erected in the once racially segregated (Whites-only) Kelly Ingram Park, a memorial itself to the heroism of another sailor from Birmingham, Gunner’s Mate Osmond Kelly Ingram, the first enlisted navy man killed in WWI and a recipient of the Medal of Honor. This park was also the locale of bloody confrontations between police and Black citizens protesting the brutal treatment given non-violent demonstrators during the pivotal Birmingham Civil Rights Campaign of 1963.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. The Messman Chronicles: African-Americans in the U.S. Navy, 1932-1943. (Submitted on October 16, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute On-line. (Submitted on October 16, 2007, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
Additional comments.
1. Fascinating
    — Submitted October 14, 2007, by Michael C Locker MD of Chicago, Illinois.

Additional keywords. Mess Attendant, Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, USS Oklahoma, Pearl Harbor casualties.
Categories. African AmericansHeroesWar, World IIWaterways & Vessels
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 5,518 times since then. Last updated on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos:   1. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   2. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
Paid Advertisement
Categories20th CenturyAbolition & Underground RRAfrican AmericansAgricultureAir & SpaceAnimalsAntebellum South, USAnthropologyArchitectureArts, Letters, MusicAsian AmericansBridges & ViaductsCemeteries & Burial SitesCharity & Public WorkChurches, Etc.Civil RightsColonial EraCommunicationsDisastersEducationEntertainmentEnvironmentExplorationForts, CastlesFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsGovernmentHeroesHispanic AmericansHorticulture & ForestryIndustry & CommerceLabor UnionsLandmarksMan-Made FeaturesMilitaryNative AmericansNatural FeaturesNatural ResourcesNotable BuildingsNotable EventsNotable PersonsNotable PlacesPaleontologyPatriots & PatriotismPeacePolitical SubdivisionsPoliticsRailroads & StreetcarsRoads & VehiclesScience & MedicineSettlements & SettlersSportsWar of 1812War, 1st Iraq & Desert StormWar, 2nd IraqWar, AfghanistanWar, ColdWar, French and IndianWar, KoreanWar, Mexican-AmericanWar, Spanish-AmericanWar, Texas IndependenceWar, US CivilWar, US RevolutionaryWar, VietnamWar, World IWar, World IIWars, Non-USWars, US IndianWaterways & Vessels
States or ProvincesAlabamaAlaskaAlbertaArizonaArkansasBritish ColumbiaCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelawareDistrict of ColumbiaFloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinoisIndianaIowaKansasKentuckyLouisianaMaineManitobaMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontanaNebraskaNevadaNew BrunswickNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNewfoundland and LabradorNorth CarolinaNorth DakotaNova ScotiaOhioOklahomaOntarioOregonPennsylvaniaPrince Edward IslandPuerto RicoQuebecRhode IslandSaskatchewanSouth CarolinaSouth DakotaTennesseeTexasUtahVermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyomingYukon Territory
CountriesArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBahamasBelgiumBelizeBrazilCanadaChinaCosta RicaCzech RepublicDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEstoniaFinlandFranceGermanyGreeceGrenadaGuatemalaGuyanaHondurasHungaryIrelandIsraelItalyJamaicaKiribatiLiechtensteinLuxembourgMalaysiaMexicoNetherlands AntillesNew ZealandNicaraguaPalestinian TerritoriesPhilippinesRussiaSaint LuciaScotland, UKSingaporeSouth AfricaSouth KoreaSwedenSwitzerlandThailandTurkeyTurks and Caicos IslandsU.S Virgin IslandsUkraineUnited KingdomU.S.A.