Speaker: Professor Jeffrey Sammons, New York University, author of Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality with John H. Morrow Jr.
Book signing after the program
Jeffrey T. Sammons, co-author of Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality, discusses the protracted struggle early in the 20th century of New York’s black citizens to force recognition from the state of New York for a black National Guard unit as well as the importance of military participation to the black freedom struggle and the fight for full citizenship.
Through the stories of three of its most famous members, Sammons will reveal the impact the regiment had on music through the work of James Reese Europe, on art though the work of Horace Pippin, and heroism through the influence of Henry Johnson. The popularity of the Harlem Hellfighters was so great that in 1943 it was featured in the film Stormy Weather, clips of which will open the talk preceded by some James Reese Europe’s compositions. Plus, see Horace Pippin’s iconic piece, The Barracks, on display in our exhibition World War I Beyond the Trenches.
You might know them as the ‘Harlem Hellfighters,’ but you’ll get to know the real 369th Regiment U.S. Infantry when you go beyond the legends and into the past. Originally naming themselves the Rattlers, the 369th will be portrayed by the Ebony Doughboys, a group of African American living historians who bring the outstanding service records of African American regiments to life. Listen to stories about life inside and outside of the trenches, guess which parts of their uniform are American and which were issued by the French command with whom they fought, and investigate their other tools and equipment for ‘digging-in!’
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West at 77th Street, 10024
Free as part of our Centennial Summer evenings. Reserve tickets by calling (212) 485-9268 or clicking "Reserve Now" above. Unclaimed tickets will be released ten minutes before the program begins.
Images Courtesy of the Ebony Doughboys.