Jeffrey Sammons, an NYU historian and co-author of Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War: The Undaunted 369th Regiment and the African American Quest for Equality, will deliver “The Fight to Fight,” a public lecture, on Wed., April 30, 5:30 p.m. at New York University’s Jurow Lecture Hall, Silver Center (100 Washington Square East/enter at 31 Washington Place).
The event, a College of Arts and Science Bentson Dean’s Lecture, is free and open to the public. Admission is on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. Please call 212.992.9817 for more information. Subway Lines: 6 (Astor Place); N, R (8th Street).
While President Woodrow Wilson urged the United States to enter the Great War in order to make the world “safe for democracy,” these democratic ideals were not evident in American society at large or the American military, which would remain segregated until the Korean War.
But this did not stop “the Harlem Rattlers,” the African-American combat unit that grew out of the 15th New York National Guard, from shipping off to Europe, where they eventually fought with the French army in WWI.
In Harlem’s Rattlers and the Great War, Sammons and University of Georgia historian John Morrow, Jr., chronicle the difficult and protracted campaign for a National Guard combat regiment as well as the soldiers’ battle exploits and postwar struggles. In addition, the authors consider the environment created by the presence of both black and white officers in the unit while also exploring the role of women—specifically, the Women’s Auxiliary of the 15th/369th—in placing the regiment’s contributions within the larger movement of African Americans for full citizenship.
In “The Fight to Fight,” Sammons will discuss the origins of this history-making regiment, which became one of WWI’s most decorated units while in pursuit of individual personhood and collective citizenship.
A video Sammons' work may be viewed here.
Reporters wishing to attend the lecture must RSVP to James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.