Veteran makes donation to Jacqueline House

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 4, 2015


DECORATED: Edward Williams explains to Yolande Robbins the significance of his ribbons in his shadowbox.

DECORATED: Edward Williams explains to Yolande Robbins the significance of his ribbons in his shadowbox.


The Jacqueline House museum is the only African-American museum in the city of Vicksburg. Inside, the museum displays donated memorabilia from residents of Vicksburg including their distinguished accomplishments, class reunion photos and portraits of prominent African-Americans from the city.

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Edward Williams made his contribution to the museum Friday, as he donated his medals, ribbons and his American flag, from the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.

“One of the most significant contributions of African-Americans nationally, but much more locally, is the gift of their military service,” Yolande Robbins, owner and caretaker of the Jacqueline House museum said.

Robbins said to have something like Williams’ contribution, which personally displays the bravery and success of one name whose name can be attached to it from Vicksburg, is awesome.

The museum itself tries to contain the educational, economical and historical contributions of its pieces.

“To have brother Williams here and be generous to display all of these medals at the only African-American museum is beyond words,” Robbins said.

Williams served 21 years in the Army and decided to donate his medals because he wasn’t doing anything with them.

Williams talked with Robbins about creating the display last year, as Williams always returns to his hometown of Vicksburg for the July 4 weekend. After Williams mounted his medals in a display case and officially asked Robbins if she wanted to put them in her museum, she was amazed and brought to tears at the request.

“It’s something for history. It’s just something good,” Williams said. “I just donate them and wish them well.”

Among the medals and ribbons he received on display are the Purple Heart, Vietnam service medal, good conduct, sharp shooter and the 50 year Korean medal.

He said there are some that you don’t even need. Williams was referring to the sacrifice a soldier makes to receive some medals, like the Purple Heart, which a soldier must be injured in combat to receive.

“I got out before they could send me back. I won’t going nowhere else,” Williams said. “One Purple Heart is enough.”

Williams grew up around the Jacqueline House museum and was raised in the era of the draft. All his classmates went to the Army, and after finding out his friends were called, he asked his mother if he could join the Army, and she fell out from devastation. He was around 23-years-old when he volunteered. After getting his physical and paperwork signed, he got on one of six busses filled with people from Vicksburg, McComb and surrounding communities to serve his country.

As a part of the 5th Regimental Combat Team, Williams served in the Korean War from 1950-53 and was a prisoner of war.

While serving in Vietnam, Williams got hit by a mortar shell during an ambush in his head and is glad to be alive.

“The mortar shell is supposed to kill a whole lot of people and it just sprayed me all over,” Williams said. “I still got a steel plate in my head. The shrapnel out of that thing, hit me on the arm and burned my arm black.”

A little piece of shrapnel hit his nose as well. It was three weeks before he could remove it. If it would have continued to travel it could have possibly taken out his eye.

Williams now resides in Augustab Ga, and because of his health problems he lives near a hospital where he can get treated for headaches and other related issues.

Despite having a successful and distinguished military career, Williams said he would not go through it again for all the gold in Ft. Knox.