Born on Nantucket to Cape Verdean parents, David DeLuze moved to Hingham in 1942 to seek employment at the Hingham Shipyard, where he was placed on the waitlist. He found work in New Hampshire until he was finally offered a job at the Shipyard in 1943. Mr. DeLuze worked first as an oiler and then became the Shipyard’s first Black crane operator. Up until World War II, the racially segregated Navy limited Black sailors to the role of mess attendants, but the demands of the war forced the Navy to begin training them for other jobs, often involving dangerous tasks with ammunition.
Mr. DeLuze continued working at the Hingham Shipyard until 1946 when it closed. At that time, he began working for Bethlehem Steel, at the Quincy Shipyard, where he remained until he retired from General Dynamics in 1982 as the oldest crane operator at the time. Mr. DeLuze, who married his wife Nora in 1948, was a hardworking father to six children who all attended Hingham public schools. The DeLuze’s Ward Street home was built on land bought from a friend, as buying a house in the 1950s as a Black man in Hingham proved difficult. Mr. DeLuze always worked at least two jobs, including running a bulldozing company. The Town of Hingham often asked Mr. DeLuze to use his lowbed truck in its Fourth of July parade. Mr. DeLuze passed away in November 2001, but as of this 2021 writing Nora DeLuze is 101 years old and living on the South Shore.
[Photos: DeLuze family. Sources: DeLuze family and Not All is Changed page 357]
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Voices of Hingham
Ken DeLuze talks about his father David DeLuze with Joe Collymore of Harbor Media