The Harlem Hellfighters of World War One

During World War One the 369th Infantry Regiment of the US Army gained a fearsome reputation. One of the most effective fighting units they spent more time in the frontline and suffered more casualties than any other American regiment. Given the nickname Men of Bronze by the French and the Hell-fighters by the Germans they were feared and respected in equal measure. The men of the 369th preferred, at the time, to be called the Black Rattlers and what set them apart from other units was that they were one of the first African-American regiments to serve with the American Expeditionary Forces. As African-Americans, these brave men were often denied the respect they deserved at home as America went through a period of intense racism and racial upheaval. In fact, it was only in August 2021 that the regiment was recognised for its extraordinary service when it was finally awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. Dan is joined by James Taub Public Program Specialist at The National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas to explore the history of the Harlem Hellfighters. They discuss the racism black soldiers experience in the US Army at the time, the experiences of the Hellfighters in Europe, their reputation as fearsome soldiers and the cultural impact they had in France.


 

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