• Ken Sargeant

Revisiting the "Men of Bronze"

Updated: Feb 14, 2019

This month, we find ourselves at a truly historic juncture. One hundred years ago, on February 19th, the men of the 369th regiment returned from the European combat theater to a heroes welcome in Harlem.

Their return was significant on many levels.

Indeed, the unit's heroics in war offered a clear counter-narrative to the prevailing stereotypical imagery of the time, particularly that of the toxic stew promulgated in the 1915 fim Birth of a Nation. The "Men of Bronze" were the clear embodiement of the New Negro.

Their return coincided with a meteoric explosion in the arts that would soon come to be known as the Harlem Renaissance.

It is our pleasure to reflect upon the confluence of these events using Bill Miles' seminal film "Men of Bronze" as a point of departure.

Men of Bronze is the definitive story of black American soldiers of the 369th U.S. combat regiment, the Old 15th Infantry from New York, known as the "Harlem Hellfighters", who served with the French army in World War I. The film uses photographs, interviews with veterans, and film from the French and American national Archives to recount the saga of the "Harlem Hellfighters,". Our panelists will include esteemed representatives of many disciplies related to the African American Diaspora.

Col. Gregory Collins. Collins has spent most of his life with the National Guard at the historic 369th Harlem Armory. He came to the Armory in 1978, when he was 14. He is a commander and an officer in the guard. He founded the cadet program, Harlem Youth Marines, in 1982 as a way to save young men and women from the dangers of the streets by using structure, discipline and love to teach valuable life lessons and offer a much-needed sense of family.

David Levering Lewis The author of eight books and editor of two more. Lewis concentrates on comparative history with special focus on twentieth-century United States social history and civil rights. He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, for part one and part two of his biography of W. E. B. Du Bois His "When Harlem was in Vogue" and "THE PORTABLE HARLEM RENAISSANCE READER" provide a panoploly of exhaustively researched essays and are critical to an understanding of what is, perhaps the the world's most celebrated neighborhood. In 2003, Lewis was appointed and currently serves as the Julius Silver University Professor and Professor of History at New York University.

Eric Tait is a Media Consultant. Founder, EVT Productions and EVT Educational Productions, Inc.; veteran broadcast journalist and documentarian. His credits include ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, 20/20, Entertainment Tonight, and ABC’s Our World Documentary Series. He’s the Executive Producer/Director of the award winning radio documentary series “Every Voice And Sing!” and the multiple award-winning “Then I’ll Be Free To Travel Home” radio and television documentary series. Among his other award-winning documentaries, the following have aired on PBS: “Across The River with Hedrick Smith” and “The Legacy of Maggie’s American Dream,” as well as “Fire In Their Eyes.” Among his many awards is the New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ) Lifetime Achievement Award in Broadcasting.

The event will begin promptly at 1:00 PM.

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