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"This is my country. The same reason that it is your country, it is mine. I was born here, and I fought for it." (01:01:01.0)

   Rose Witherspoon Spence
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War: World War, 1939-1945
Branch: WAC (Women's Army Corps)
Unit: Section D, 3014th Army Air Force Base Unit (AAFBU)
Service Location: Douglas Air Force Base, Douglas, Arizona; San Antonio, Texas
Rank: Corporal
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Rose Witherspoon Spence was the granddaughter of a former slave and the daughter of an African-American minister, but more than that, she was a singular modern woman whose strong ties to history and family would not bind her solely to the role of wife and mother. "Tall and lanky," as she describes herself, she had an athlete's body that set her apart from her brothers and sisters, and she used her physical presence as an entrée into sports, playing basketball in college at Tennessee State University, and later in the Women's Army Corps, where she coached a women's basketball team. After the war, she became involved in the Civil Rights movement, and in the 1990's, she became a field officer in the effort to fund and construct The Women In Military Service For America Memorial, commonly known as The Women's Memorial, in Arlington, Virginia.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
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»First, Serve: Athletes in Uniform
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Growing up "different," athletic; rejection by her friends because of her height; began playing basketball in high school and college. (01:45) Joining the service; reaction of family. (02:36) Being an African-American woman in the military; experience of working with white veterans. (03:20)
The birth of the Civil Rights movement after the war; belief that we can win the war of discrimination (02:04) Involvement in the women's memorial in Washington, D.C. (02:57) Playing basketball in the Army (01:29)

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  October 26, 2011
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