AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Re: Harlem Hellfighters
In Response To: Harlem Hellfighters ()
Hello, again I would like to stress the important issue for me of this period was the feeling and attitude of our grandparents and how they viewed there place in this land, often forgotten in the history books.The words that follow of Marchbanks, Frierson and Allen are so important not great noteables of the day just plain African American soldiers.
The next lines are from Book #3 of a series I have done called "For The Love Of Liberty."
“We stopped over in Gibralta until July 6th and then left for little ole New York, arriving July 25th, and dropped anchor off the quarateen station early in the morning of the 25th. About 2:30 on the afternoon of the same day the “Kilpatrick” slipped her nose in dock at the foot of Wall Street while the regimental band stood on the forward deck and played “there is no place like home sweet home” Strong men, women, and children with hearts full of anxiety stood on deck gazing at the tall buildings the like of which had never been seen by many. Tears of joy flowed down the cheeks from the eyes of many as they gazed upon the land that gave them birth for the first time in many moons.” Vance Marchbanks Sr.1909
After 1900 the negative influence of racism overcame the positive force of the needs of defending our nation. It was a force that grew quickly in the first years of the 20th century. The new
social mores of white America, becoming a colonial power, the stationing of black soldiers close to cities, increased black militancy and their greater awareness of the racial situation, all worked to destroy the good life for black soldiers. African American soldiers like Sergeant major, Eugene P. Frierson of the 10th Cavalry, were well aware of the attitude of white America he wrote from Ft Huachuca, on the 28,of August 1914, “If there is any doubt on the part of any citizens as to our valor, courage, and obedience in the Army, I simply refer him to the records of the War Department, in Washington, DC....Men are not superior by reason of the accident of race or color. They are superior who have the best heart and the best brain. Superiority is born of honesty, of virtue, of charity, and above all of the love of liberty,” Black soldiers continued to perform the daily routine, but unfortunately for the most part the general public ignored them. As historical research has shown,”The discrimination, segregation, and antipathy toward black soldiers and officers that occurred during World War I, should have been no surprise to any one familiar with the events of the previous twenty-five years.” Captain John Henry Allen, a former Battalion Sergeant Major of the 25th Infantry who died of pneumonia while on duty in France in 1919 wrote this poem of the colors of the 25th called the “Rings upon the Pike,” when he was a member of the regiment: