Film
[A look back to the future of African-American music]

The Great War of the Harlem Hellfighters

Documentary film by François Reinhardt (2017)
Original version in French and English with English subtitles

[A look back to the future of African-American music]

The Great War of the Harlem Hellfighters

The Great War of the Harlem Hellfighters

© War Department – The National Archives

Past Dates

The Harlem Hellfighters, an African-American regiment of the US forces, not only fought on the frontlines in World War I under the command of a white officer – they also fought for racial equality. Due to their extraordinary efforts in the Champagne region in the spring of 1918, they not only received the name ‘Harlem Hellfighters’, but were also awarded the French Croix de Guerre, a medal for special military merit. In the hope that this war effort and their outstanding bravery during combat would also change their status in their homeland, the survivors of the 369th Infantry Regiment returned to the US, but several years would pass before the official abolition of segregation in the US Army took place in 1948 and before the Civil Rights Act was finally passed in 1964. The documentary “The Great War of the Harlem Hellfighters” tells the story of this group of soldiers, which included the musician and conductor James Reese Europe.

Website of Jason Moran – The Harlem Hellfighters

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