Friday, September 25, 2009

"Hellfighters Return"

16"x20" Watercolor

The 369th Regiment, or the “Harlem Hellfighters” was the first African American Regiment to fight in World War I. Although General John J. Pershing wished to keep the U.S. Army autonomous, he loaned the 369th to the 16th Division of the French Army. Supposedly, the unreported and unofficial reason why he was willing to detach the 369th from American command was that White American soldiers objected to fighting alongside the Black troops. The French had no such problem and were happy to accept the reinforcements. The African American troops' bravery earned the entire regiment the "Croix de Guerre", the French government's highest military honor. This painting is based on historical images of the return parade in New York City for the Harlem Hellfighters.

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