Joseph “Joe” LaNier grew up in rural Mississippi, steeped in the segregation so prevalent preceding World War II. Though exposed to a time of hate and injustice—at a level almost unimaginable today—it did not daunt his desire for what was good and true. At just seventeen he joined the segregated United States Navy and became one of the first African-American Navy Seabees, shipping out to Iwo Jima in early 1945. It was an experience that changed him in so many ways, solidifying his hope for a better life. After the war he was fueled with a burning desire to succeed, even when told, as a black man, he could not vote. He completed his education in pharmaceutical studies in New Orleans, building a prosperous career taking him through St. Louis, Chicago, and finally Denver, despite numerous setbacks—strictly due to the color of his skin.
Denver-based journalist and author Steffan Tubbs presents Joe’s story with gripping detail and emotion with stories spanning the course of eight decades. Learn how an ice cream cone, a street sweeper and a movie usher changed the direction of a man’s life forever. Travel back to Mississippi, Louisiana and Iwo Jima and experience some of the darker moments in our nation’s storied history. A grandson of a slave and a pioneer in his own right, Joseph LaNier’s story is one of resilience, of hope, and of love regardless of injustice. He believed in this country when he fought in World War II and still believes in it today.
“There’s no such thing as a perfect Union. That’s why we always say we are trying to make it a more perfect Union, because each generation is going to have something they need to fix that the previous generation didn’t do….We’ve moved forward in a positive sense; sometimes it’s slow, but it happens. That’s why I’m proud to be an American”. —Joseph LaNier
Take this journey and learn from a man who found within an ability to face adversity with amazing resilience and a will to fight for life and liberty in this country called the United States of America.
Though this is an unauthorized biography, it is based completely on fact from more than 100 hours of the author’s personal interviews as part of the patriotic and uplifting project.