During World War 1, two African American soldiers, twenty-six year-old Henry Johnson and fourteen year-old Needham Roberts were on a listening post on the front lines. During the night, they were attacked by a German Special Forces Unit consisting of at least thirty men. The event will come to be known as "The Battle of Henry Johnson".
The film depicts the historical event with accuracy, in real time. All content of the film is based on historical record.
Early on in America’s involvement, the American military had a policy to enter WWI as one single force, except for African American troops who would assist the French in support detail. Because of "The Battle of Henry Johnson", the 369th all black regiment was allowed to fight. Without this revitalization of its forces, France was likely to fall.
It is one thing to read about a battle in a history book; it is another thing to see it on screen. By presenting this historical event in the cinematic medium, audience members can get a deeper understanding of the sacrifices of Henry Johnson, and Needham Roberts. This is an incredible story that needs to be told to as many people as possible.
The film strives to be as historically accurate as possible. Students, historians, and fans of history will be entertained while they become more familiar with an important part of American history. The project prides itself on its adherence to actual historical records and collaboration with historical societies.
The 369th Infantry Regiment, also know as the Harlem Hellfighters were an all black regiment that are still around to this day. During WWI they never lost a foot of ground and were the most decorated regiment in the war. They earn their name from German forces.
Pictures are below.
There are countless unsung heroes who fought for the 369th Infantry Regiment and some are featured in the film. James Reese Europe, the man who introduced France to jazz with his military band, has a major speaking role in the film. There are also conversations that mention historical events and people.
You are not alone. Many military historians don't even know about the Harlem Hellfighters. If you would like to know more, there are many different societies dedicated to keeping their memories alive, The 369th Veteran Society, The Albany Institute of History and Art, and the Ebony Doughboys.
New York Parade for the Harlem Hellfighters after the war.
Do you have questions or comments about our film? Send us a message, and we will get back to you soon.
Greater Philadelphia Film Office: One Parkway Building • 1515 Arch Street, 11th Floor • Philadelphia, PA 19102
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