Morrie Turner Wee Pals

Wee Pals Morrie Turner, Former Chamber Boss Robert Toney Part Of Effort To Rename Oakland Army Base Streets

Long-time friend Gene Hazzard shared a letter with me that was written for and sent to Oakand District Three Councilmember Carroll Fife. It recalls a push that the woman she beat for the District Three Seat in the 2018 Oakland Elections, the incumbent Councilmember Lynette Gibson McElhaney, who planned to rename Oakland Army Base streets after African American Oaklanders who were military veterans.

Here’s the text of letter send to Councilmember Fife:

National Executive Committee:
Coalition Chairman, Mr. Charles Blatcher, III, Former US Navy – Oakland, CA
General Robert Cocroft, Us Army, Ret. – Milwaukee, Ws Major Howard D. Jackson, US Marina
Corps, Ret. – Oakland, CA
Chief Historian, Former LT Cmder. Michael J. Clark, Ph.D.. US Navy – Hayward, CA Treasurer,
Cmd. Sgt. Holben Maxey, US Air Force, Ret.

National Planning Committee

Former US Navy
Colonel Franklin J. Hendenon
US Army, Ret., Los Angeles, CA Former Captain Joseph Murchison US Army, Tampa, FL

Councilmember Carroll Fife c/o Oakland City Council Oakland City Hall

1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

Oakland, CA 94612

Dear Councilwomen Fife:
September 4, 2021

Cmd. Sgt. Major Herbert 1. Allen US Army, Ret., Brooklyn, NY Former Flrst LT Anthony Hawklns US
Army, Washington, OC Former Drill sgt Bill McCurtis
US Army, Marana, AZ Mr. 4oe Carr
Former US Army, Pont1ac, MI Mr. Ants Copeland,
Former US Coast Guard, Laurelton, NY
Mr. Clarence Davis
Former US Air Force, Baltimore, MD
Mr. Randy Dupree,
Former US Army, New York, NY Ms. Althea Hanklns Phlladelphia, PA
Mr. David Ofwono,
Former US Navy, Los Banos, CA
Mr. Oavid Ruffln
Rockford, IL
Mr. Leon J. Wallace,
Staten Island, NY
use Yofonda Williams
Riverside, CA
Ms. Mae I. Gill-Hawkins
Ft. Washington, MD
MO James T. Averhart, Jr., Ret.
Mr. 4ohn S. weston Former US Army Mr. Loren Williams
Former USMC, Philadelphia, PA
Mr. Norman Hill
Murfreesboro, TN

Your predecessor had proposed renaming some of the street on the former Oakland Army Base in honor of some local Veterans. Our Coalition totally embraced the idea, and submitted names for consideration. However the initiative was never carried forward. By-way of this correspondence, we are requesting that you consider carrying the initiative forward. We believe it would be an uplifting gesture to Veterans in Oakland. In addition, it would be a positive act by our City Government in recognizing an often overlooked segment of the local population.

The following names and legends are of the individuals we would like to offer for consideration:

The late Rear Admiral Robert L. Toney, USN – A former resident of Oakland who rose from being a
shoeshine boy on 7ᵗʰ Street to become third Black Admiral in the history of the United States Navy.
Before his death in 2016, he served as President of the Oakland Chamber of Commerce.

The late Major General John Sanford, USA – He was the First and only Black Commanding General of
the Oakland Army Base from 1984 to 1991. General Sanford died in 1998.

Retired Major Howard D. Jackson, USMC — He is a longtime resident of Oakland. Major Jackson is
noted in military history for developing the first Human Relations Program in the Armed Forces in

He is an active member of the National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations; and

The late Sergeant Morrie Turner, USA – Former resident of Oakland, he was the first Black
syndicated cartoonist in America. He is the creator of the Wee Pals cartoon strip focusing on
promoting education among our youth. Sergeant Turner died in 2014.

Host Organization: The American Legion – Cook-Nelson Post ff20 (Non-Profit Tax ID # 383124100)

The Colonel Charles Young Promotion Campaign Headquarters: 3548 May Court – Oakland, CA 94602
Phone: (510) 467-9242 E-mail address:

In closing, we would appreciate your consideration of our request. I am available for any questions
you may have regarding this matter. I can be reached at 1-510-754-3718.


Charles Blatcher III

cc: Coalition Partners Mayor Libby Schaaf

The National Minority Military Museum Foundation
Oakland, CA

The American Legion-Charles Young Post t/398 New York, NY

The Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust Washington, DC
Los Banos Buffalo Soldiers 9th and 10th Cavalry Association
Los Banos, CA

The USCG National Association of Former Stewards and Steward Mates Laurelton, NY

The Buffalo Soldiers Memorial Committee- Inland Empire Heritage Association Riverside, CA

The Association of the 2221 Negro Infantry Volunteers World War II Ft. Washington, MD
The 9th Memorial United States Cavalry Association
Marana, AZ
The National Associat1on of Black Veterans, Inc.
Milwaukee, WI
The African American Patriots Consortium, Inc.
Baltimore, MD

The American Legion-Cook- Nelson Post #20 Pontiac, MI

The 9th and 10th Horse Cavalry Association Los Angeles, CA

The 555th Black Paratroopers Association Tampa, FL

The 369th Veterans Association Staten Island, NY

The 715th Veterans Association Laurelton, NY
Montford Point Marine Associat1on, Inc.
Limerick, PA

761st Tank Battalion and Allied Veterans Association Chicago, IL

The African American Gallery of the Ethnic Heritage Museum Rockford, IL

The ACES Museum Philadelphia, PA

Colonel Charles Young American Legion Post #682 Philadelphia, PA

The 13th United States Colored Troops Living History Association Murfreesboro, TN

Here’s the PDF file version of the letter:

Letter To Councilwoman Carroll Fife On Black Veterans And Oakland Army Base by Zennie Abraham on Scribd

Carroll Fife And The Oakland City Council Must Support This Effort To Honor These Oaklanders

Hopefully, Councilmember Fife, Mayor Schaaf, and the Oakland City Council do make this a reality.

Stay tuned.

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