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Roscoe Tyson Spann
War: World War II
Branch: United States Army
Unit: Buffalo 92nd & 93rd Divisions
Highest Rank: First Lieutenant
Birth Year: May 19, 1918
Place of Birth: Mounds, Illinois


Roscoe (he goes by Tyson) grew up in Mounds, Illinois. He received numerous letters asking that he report for duty. Instead he went to Detroit to live with relatives. He graduated from Lane College in Tennessee and was slated for a career in Medicine. The Federal Agents caught up with him in Detroit.

Tyson was sent to Officers Training School (90 day wonders), and was assigned to train Black soldiers for combat. "Becoming an Officer was quite a distinction and honor" despite the resentment he received from many of the White officers.

Tyson was discharged after seven years of service. It amazed him that after spending so much time and energy in trying to stay out of the Army, he worked very hard to accomplish the goals established for him while in the Army. He describes his experience as an honor and he is very grateful.

After discharge he went to Chicago with his wife. He drove a bus for ten years. Eventually, he settled in Ypsilanti. He joined his brother in the construction business. At the time a Black contracting business could not borrow money from Ann Arbor banks so they went into remodeling. Eventually Tyson joined Ford Motor Company as a Testing Technician, retiring in 1987.

Tyson often describes "Two Armies - One White and One Black." He does not show any resentment realizing that was the way the country was at that time.