Willie Thompson was born on January 18th 1890 to Richard Thompson and Elizabeth Garrison. He was an African American man from Norfolk, Va. He grew up on 835 Washington Ave, in Norfolk, Virginia’s Huntersville neighborhood. Thompson was not listed as belonging to any religious background or church. Before Thompson served in the U.S. Army he worked as a clerk. He is said to have had an ordinary education but there is no evidence of him graduating from any school. He was also was not a registered voter as many African American men at this time were denied such freedoms.
Thompson was a married man before joining the army, marrying a woman named Annie White. At twenty-eight years old he enlisted at Camp-Lee Virginia as a corporal on July 18, 1918. He was part of the 4th company 155 Depot Brigade in the Laboring Battalion. However he saw no action . He was discharged on August 30, 1918 only a month after being drafted.
After his discharge he worked as a janitor. He married again, this time to a woman named Lillian and they had a daughter named Bernice Hunter. He lived on 861 Avenue A until his death on October 20, 1969. He died at age 79 at Norfolk General Hospital due to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Norfolk, VA, and was survived by his daughter Bernice and cousin Mrs. Blanche Jones.
The New Norfolk Journal and Guide
“Obituary News – The Virginian Pilot.” The Virginian Pilot.
United States Census, 1910-1940.
“Willie Thompson,” Findagrave.org. Available online: http://findagrave.org/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=102607647 Dec. 9, 2016.
“Willie Thompson,” World War I History Commission Questionnaires, Library of Virginia.
Roger Brown is a history major at Norfolk State University.