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Vernon Baker

Orphaned at age four, Vernon J. Baker was raised in Wyoming by his grandparents, in a town with just a dozen other black families. During adolescence, he spent two years at Father Flanagan's Boys Home in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated from high school in Iowa, worked as a railroad porter. He fought to join a segregated army, and was sent to Italy with one of the few all-black regiments to see combat in World War II. Mr. Baker fought in Italy, earning a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and...See more