Longer than any American unit, white or black. In all that time we never lost a trench to the enemy We became one of the most decorated units, black or white, in the entire American Expeditionary Force. And when that damn war finally ended, we became the first soldiers of any army, of any color, to reach the Rhine River. Finally, Brooks had the idea to write the story in graphic novel form, and it worked spectacularly well.
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It begins upon the inception of U. The soldiers, though all black, come from a diverse array of backgrounds, classes, and cultures, leading to some initial internal strain. The 15th is headed by Lieutenant Adams and Sergeant Mandla. In July , the regiment commences basic training at Camp Whitman, where they are strictly disciplined and educated by a benevolent Adams.
Concurrently, members of the regimental band are subjected to the precise training of renowned bandleader Lt.
James Europe. In October, the regiment is reassigned to Spartanburg, South Carolina to finish their training. Fears run high within their ranks given that the town is located in the Jim Crow South; only weeks earlier tensions between racist locals and African-American trainees had led to a riot in Houston. In order to preserve the well-being of his men, Lt. Adams orders them to completely ignore any verbal or physical provocations made by the local populace.
Mark and several of his fellow infantrymen are subject to a vicious beating at the hands of townsmen that is only broken up when white soldiers from the 7th Infantry Regiment intervene. After a handful of weeks in Spartanburg, the 15th is deployed to France. After months more of "pick and shovel work," the 15th is reorganized into the th Infantry Regiment and transferred under the jurisdiction of the French Fourth Army.
The French soldiers show a foreign level of acceptance and tolerance of the newly instilled black presence. The th is soon taken aback by the brutal realities of war; the rat-infested, muddy, lice-encompassed trenches become a subject of much complaining. Nonetheless, the soldiers soon prove themselves in combat. Private Henry Johnson becomes the first American to receive the Croix de Guerre after dispatching a German "raider party" armed solely with a bolo knife and rifle, saving the lives of multiple comrades.
The African American soldiers soon face intense discrimination from their white counterparts; they are eventually barred altogether from social interactions with the friendlier French. Mark is soon arrested by military police after defending himself against a provocation by white soldiers.
Anticipating the Second Battle of the Marne , the Expeditionary Force formulates a plan to retreat from the would-be German assaulted forward trenches whilst bombarding German supply roads. However, in order for this to be executed, the Americans must enforce the illusion that the trenches are still stocked with men by placing a "volunteer unit" left behind. Adams subsequently volunteers the th for this duty. Shortly before combat commences, Mark returns to his regiment, who rides out German bombardment of the forward trenches completely unscathed.
Immediately afterwards the th participates in the perilous Allied counterattack, with Sgt. Mandla being killed in the process. The novel ends with a series of conclusory panels, dictating that the Harlem Hellfighters spent days in combat, were the first Allied unit to reach the Rhine , and that they received a victory parade upon their return home to New York.
As an adult, Brooks attempted to have their story turned into a film, pitching his script across the movie industry to no avail. The various studios Brooks sought out believed that World War I had been rendered obscure to the general American public; they believed a film dealing with the subject would not be profitable.
Finally, after collaborating with White on a graphic companion to his novel The Zombie Survival Guide in , Brooks realized the story could be told within the comics medium sans the financial concerns of film.
For example, Lt. Adams was a combination of several black officers at the time. Another difference between the book and reality, is that while the Hellfighters did receive a parade in Paris and were adored and considered heroes by the French, they were not given many accolades when they returned home to the United States, aside from a parade in New York City on February 17, In fact, a number of the th soldiers elected to stay in France after the war was over, rather than come back to a segregated America, where they would be expected to resume their place at the bottom of the social ladder.
Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 April
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Add to Cart About The Harlem Hellfighters From bestselling author Max Brooks, the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic black regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters In , the th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government. The Harlem Hellfighters, as the Germans called them, fought courageously on—and off—the battlefield to make Europe, and America, safe for democracy. From the enlistment lines in Harlem to the training camp at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to the trenches in France, they tell the heroic story of the th in an action-packed and powerful tale of honor and heart. About The Harlem Hellfighters From bestselling author Max Brooks, the riveting story of the highly decorated, barrier-breaking, historic black regiment—the Harlem Hellfighters In , the th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I.
369th Infantry Regiment (United States)
The th Infantry Regiment, made up of African Americans, which spent days in front line trenches of WWI, longer than any other American unit, suffering 1, casualties, the most of any American unit. After Brooks realized the possibilities of graphic novels through the success of his WWZ and Zombie Survival Guide, he thought the medium would be a perfect way to tell the story of the Harlem Hellfighters. He recruited Illustrator Caanan White and together they put his movie to paper. That is only a small part of the story. Europe features heavily as the Hellfighters are followed from recruitment to triumphal parade on their return.
The Harlem Hellfighters
It begins upon the inception of U. The soldiers, though all black, come from a diverse array of backgrounds, classes, and cultures, leading to some initial internal strain. The 15th is headed by Lieutenant Adams and Sergeant Mandla. In July , the regiment commences basic training at Camp Whitman, where they are strictly disciplined and educated by a benevolent Adams. Concurrently, members of the regimental band are subjected to the precise training of renowned bandleader Lt. James Europe. In October, the regiment is reassigned to Spartanburg, South Carolina to finish their training.