Man with WW II era newspaper searches for black veteran's family (UPDATE)

UPDATE: The family of Herman Chapman contacted FOX 2 about the newspaper. Expect a follow-up report Wednesday.


A FOX 2 viewer found an old Detroit newspaper dating back to World War II.

On the front page is an article about the first black war veteran to get a home loan. Now, he's trying to find that man's family.

The Detroit News, in April, 1945, the Serviceman's Digest.

Headlines boasted stories about Willow Run, an armory fire, and the "first Negro GI to get a loan."

"Detroit history," said Dusty Waldo. "It says that 'Herman Chapman, 30-years-old on Tillman Avenue, became the first Negro war veteran in this area to receive a home loan under the provisions of the GI Bill of Rights.'"

Waldo doesn't know Herman Chapman. Dusty's own grandfather, Norman Geltz, was in the Navy during World War II, serving on board the USS Auburn in the Pacific Theatre.

He brought back old Detroit newspapers from his time there. Newspapers that have sat on a shelf since his death.

Recently Waldo was reading them and came across the story about a 30-year-old Army veteran named Herman Chapman, who was the area's first veteran of color to receive a home loan under the GI Bill of Rights.

That home still stands here on Northlawn Avenue in Detroit.

"I recall stories of 1945 how the military was still segregated back then," Waldo said. "So it was quite uncommon for someone to actually own a home."

According to the article, Chapman made a $200 down payment and borrowed the remaining $5,800 about 70 years ago. There's no sign of his family there now.

The last address FOX 2 could find for Chapman was a now-abandoned house on Linwood. It's believed he passed away back in 2003 but perhaps there's a child or grandchild who'd like to have that newspaper article from 1945.

"I want some of this stuff to go to the right people as opposed to just having it set in my closet or somebody else's closet for the next 50 years," Waldo said. "To have someone really appreciate it and go to the right person who can appreciate it."

If you know where to find relatives of Herman Chapman, please let us know.
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