World War II veterans feel the depiction of African Americans in "Saving Private Ryan" is misrepresented. Blacks need to counteract the stereotype of being cowards and mental inferior. Tony Brown traces the history of African Americans in the military from colonial times to World War I.
Over 200,000 enlist in the Army. A Harlem National Guard unit ships to South Carolina for training; racial abuse erupts. The 369th infantry fights in the trenches for six months and never loses a foot of ground.
America needs recruits to fight against the Nazis. The military takes steps to reduce discrimination in the armed forces, but segregation still exists. President Harry Truman signs an executive order desegregating the armed forces in 1948.
Sgt. Major Shelby Clark traces his military career form enlistment through the Vietnam War. Jay Hugh Hunter did not fight Germans during World War II. Black soldiers fight as separate units.
Black units should be included not excluded in the film; a segregated army does not mean that African Americans did not fight the enemy. Hunter explains that it was white men who saved one of their own in the movie. The army decides to integrate the armed forces after the Battle of the Bulge. (Credits)
Credits: Saving Private Washington
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On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the executive order that officially desegregated the nation’s armed forces, Hollywood was showing its version of that war era. Many Black veterans felt it was another example of how the contributions of Blacks in the military are routinely ignored or maligned. This program from Tony Brown's Journal combines archival photographs, vintage footage, and interviews with veterans to fill in the missing pages of history.
Length: 27 minutes
Copyright date: ©1998
Prices include public performance rights.
Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.
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