Abe Cory Harper was the youngest of eight children of William Thomas Harper, Sr. and Mattie Taylor Harper. He was born on February 11, 1923 on the Old Snow Hill Road in Kinston, North Carolina.
In 1942, Abe graduated from Grainger High School where he starred on the football and boxing teams. Along with the rest of his family, he attended Gordon Street Christian Church in Kinston.
Abe lost his life on February 4, 1944 when he was killed on his sixteenth bombing mission in action over Germany. He held the position of aerial gunner on a flying fortress stationed in England. He had been awarded the Air Medal for “courage, coolness, and skill” displayed on combat missions over Nazi Germany. He was posthumously awarded two Oak Leaf Clusters and the Purple Heart.