Jerry Summers: Bill White - Battle Of Athens (2)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 - by Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers
Jerry Summers

One of the rewarding aspects of writing articles for the Chattanoogan.com is the responses that are received from readers locally, from the states, and a few from outside the country.

The April 8, 2021 article on the August 1946 takeover of the election in McMinn County, Tennessee, produced some supplemental historical information about the event that attracted national publicity and coverage.

The author of an upcoming book on Chattanooga newspaper reporter Nellie Kenyon, Tyler Boyd, referred me to the November 3, 2020 publication by well-known author Chris DeRose, titled “The Fighting Bunch” – available on Amazon.  It is an important addition to the 1987 commentary contained in the book “The Battle of Athens” by C. Stephen Bynum mentioned in our first article.  It is an interview by G. Kurt Piehler and Brandi Wilson of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville of the WWII and Battle of Athens leader Bill White as part of the Veterans Oral History Project Center in the Department of History.

The 46-page interview covers Bill White’s involvement in the War on the first 18 pages and the rest of the transcript gives his version of the Battle of Athens.

Bill White was a 17-year-old from McMinn County with limited education who joined the Marines two to three days after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 after his parents signed for him to enlist.

Much time has passed from the war.  Most veterans were reluctant to talk about their experiences in Europe and the Pacific.

However, after 75 years one of the participants, Bill White, consented to an interview with Piehler and Wilson.

It adds much to the stories of both his wartime service and the Battle of Athens that followed in 1946.

Chris DeRose’s book is favorably reviewed by several New York Times best selling authors.  He is the author of five books and has served in several legal positions in the state of Arizona.

The trip back to another era is particularly timely in light of the national debate on alleged election irregularities in the 2020 presidential and senatorial races in Georgia.

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Jerry Summers

(If you have additional information about one of Mr. Summers' articles or have suggestions or ideas about a future Chattanooga area historical piece, please contact Mr. Summers at jsummers@summersfirm.com)

 

           

           


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