Former Buffalo Soldier, activist, Delaware legend Jim Gilliam passes at 95

September 10 16:17 2015 Print This Article

James H. Gilliam Sr., the decorated soldier, voice for peace and racial equality in Wilmington has died early Thursday. He was 95.

He was preceded in death by wife Louise Hayley Gilliam and son James J. Gilliam Jr. Gilliam is survived by daughter Patrice Gilliam-Johnson, three grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

The former Buffalo Soldier Jim Gilliam received (6) medals for his military service during World War II and the Korean War on Friday, August 29, 2014, in Hockessin, Delaware.

Jim Gilliam, Sr. was a Buffalo Soldier in the 92nd Infantry Division; this division was a segregated unit and the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe during World War II, as part of the 5th Army. It served in the Italian Campaign from 1944 to the war’s end.

 

THE LIFE OF JAMES H. GILLIAM SR. (Source The news Journal)

Born: Aug. 6, 1920, Baltimore

Education: Morgan State College, bachelor’s degree (sociology), Baltimore; Howard University, master’s degree (social work), Washington, D.C.

Career: Maryland State Department of Health; Housing Authority of Baltimore City; administrator, Family Courts of Delaware; founder and first executive director, Greater Wilmington Housing Authority; vice president for management and community relations, Leon Weiner & Assoc.

1944-48: Served with the 370th Infantry Regiment, 92nd Infantry Division “Buffalo Soldiers,” an African-American division. Combat veteran of the North Apennines and Po Valley campaigns on the Italian front. Earned Bronze Star medal; American Campaign Medal; European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Honorable Service Lapel Button, WWII

1950: Recalled to active duty as captain, U.S. Army 147th Quartermaster Truck Company, during Korean War. Stationed in Germany, earned Army of Occupation Medal with German Clasp

1954: Becomes psychiatric case work supervisor for Maryland State Department of Health

1955: Becomes management aide, Housing Authority of Baltimore

1963: Becomes chief of renewal operations for Baltimore Urban Renewal and Housing Agency

1965: Moves to Wilmington, becomes director of neighborhood and housing services for the Greater Wilmington Development Council

1969: Named Delaware’s social worker of the year

1970: Joins Leon Weiner & Assoc. as vice president

1971: Accepts Gov. Russell Peterson’s request to overhaul Delaware Family Court, takes one-year leave from Weiner & Assoc.

1974: Becomes first director of New Castle County Department of Community Development and Housing

1982: Awarded Order of the First State by Gov. Pete du Pont, Distinguished Delawarean Award

1985: National Ambassador Award, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials; Achievers Award for Significant Contributions in Government (Brandywine Professional Association)

1990: Retires from county post; receives Kiwanis Club of Wilmington’s J. Caleb Boggs Community Service Award

1994: Winner of Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Josiah Marvel Cup for community service

1999: Founds the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League, the 115th affiliate of the National Urban League

Aug. 29, 2014: Receives medals and other citations from U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, including: two Bronze Stars; the American Campaign Medal; the Combat Infantryman Badge; the National Defense Service Medal; the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal; the Army of Occupation Medal with Germany Clasp; the World War II Victory Medal; the Honorable Service Lapel Button, WWII​

Died: Sept. 10, 2015

Partial list of community service roles: President, National Urban League Development Foundation; board president, Children’s Bureau of Delaware; member, Delaware Ethics Commission; board member, Medical Center of Delaware; president and chairman of the board of Community Housing Development Inc.; member, Wesley College Board of Trustees; commissioner, Speer Trust; director, United Way of Delaware; elder, First & Central Presbyterian Church.

Wilmington activist, tough-love mentor Jim Gilliam dies (The News Journal)

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware (LEFT) pins a American Campaign Medal on former Buffalo Soldier Jim Gilliam (RIGHT) who served in the military during World War II and the Korean War Friday, August 29, 2014, in Hockessin, Delaware. Sen. Chris Coons partnered with the National Archives and successfully found Jim Gilliam discharge papers verifying his eligibility for these replacement awards.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware (LEFT) pins a American Campaign Medal on former Buffalo Soldier Jim Gilliam (RIGHT) who served in the military during World War II and the Korean War Friday, August 29, 2014, in Hockessin, Delaware.
Sen. Chris Coons partnered with the National Archives and successfully found Jim Gilliam discharge papers verifying his eligibility for these replacement awards. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

Former Buffalo Soldier Jim Gilliam addresses the audience after receiving 6) Medals for his military service during World War II and the Korean War Friday, August 29, 2014, in Hockessin, Delaware. Jim Gilliam was a Buffalo Soldier in the 92nd Infantry Division, this division was a segregated unit and the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe during World War II, as part of the 5th Army. It served in the Italian Campaign from 1944 to the war's end.

Former Buffalo Soldier Jim Gilliam addresses the audience after receiving 6) Medals for his military service during World War II and the Korean War Friday, August 29, 2014, in Hockessin, Delaware.
Jim Gilliam was a Buffalo Soldier in the 92nd Infantry Division, this division was a segregated unit and the only African American infantry division to see combat in Europe during World War II, as part of the 5th Army. It served in the Italian Campaign from 1944 to the war’s end. Photo By Saquan Stimpson

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Saquan Stimpson-Cunningham
Saquan Stimpson-Cunningham

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