MATT2c Andrew Tiny Whittemore

Unknown Sailor

MATT2c Andrew Tiny Whittemore

Andrew Tiny Whittemore’s father, Isaac, died when he was about five months old. His mother, Katharine, was left with seven children to support from her work as a laundress.

The family lived at Lake Providence, Tennessee, a farming and dairy community 15 miles east of Nashville founded by freed slaves soon after the Civil War. Isaac “Ike” Whittemore was a farmer.

Andrew, born Sept. 6, 1920, graduated from Cameron Junior High School in Nashville. The 1940 Census says he had completed a year of high school and was employed in Nashville doing house work for a family. On Aug. 20, 1940 he enlisted in the Navy and soon was assigned to the U.S.S. Arizona.

He was a mess attendant second class when he was killed on Dec. 7, 1941 in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

As a black man, the Messman Branch was the only job open to Mr. Whittemore in the Navy segregated since the Wilson Administration. Messmen cooked, cleaned, and performed other services. They could advance to become a steward or cook for officers up to petty officer first class, but that was their limit.

His life was the subject of a CBS Radio show called “They Live Forever” in March 1942. The weekly half-hour broadcast began after the Pearl Harbor attack. Mr. Whittemore’s brother Alfred spoke about him, and the Fisk University Jubilee Singers sang from the university chapel.


Sources: The Tennessean of Nashville; Navy muster rolls; Census; Tennessee death certificate; Tennessee historic marker. ​​This profile was researched and written on behalf of the U.S.S. Arizona Mall Memorial at the University of Arizona.

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