Trouble in Paradise
Racism was no respecter of centuries, and so at the start of the twentieth century Eugene Bullard, the Columbus-born military pilot, was denied opportunity to serve in the United States forces. He had been born on October 9, 1884 and when he was in his teen years he stowed away aboard a ship that took him to Scotland. Later he made a trip to Paris, where he joined the French air force and flew as a member of the Lafayette Flying Club. He married in France and had two daughters whom he raised alone. When the Germans invaded Paris in 1940 Bullard took his daughters to the south of France. Bullard died in New York in 1961. By the time Bullard died, Harlem had already gone through the height of its own glory. Trouble in paradise was right around every corner in the most socially liberal city in the country. However, in the decade prior to Bullard’s death New York blacks had asserted their strength in demonstrations and organizations. A. Philip Randolph’s plan for a March on Washington had established a major tactic that could be used to draw attention to the issues that affect African Americans. It would reappear in 1963 when Martin Luther King would join A. Philip Randolph and other civil rights leaders to plan a march on Washington. Harlem
was the nerve center for many African American ideas, and this had been so for a considerable time.