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Friday, April 04, 2014

HARLEM'S RATTLERS AND THE GREAT WAR

The National Archives at Kansas City and the National World War I Museum have partnered to offer this public program at the National World War I Museum. For more information or to make a reservation, call 816-268-8010 or email kansascity.educate@nara.gov.

Monday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m.--Drs. Jeffrey Sammons and John Morrow will discuss Harlem's Rattlers and the Great War, a 6:00 p.m. reception will precede this free program. On May 15, 1918, a French lieutenant warned Henry Johnson of the 369th to move back because of a possible enemy raid, Johnson reportedly replied: "I'm an American, and I never retreat." The story, even if apocryphal, captures the mythic status of the Harlem Rattlers, the African American combat unit that grew out of the 15th New York National Guard, who were said to have never lost a man to capture or a foot of ground that had been taken. With historical precision and unparalleled research this book will likely stand as the definitive study of the 369th. Though discussed in numerous histories and featured in popular culture (most famously the film Stormy Weather and the novel Jazz), the 369th has become more a matter of mythology than grounded, factually accurate history.

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