Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nickname #3 -- June 8, 2011

The 369th Infantry Regiment, the Harlem Hellfighters, was a New York National Guard regiment taken into Federal service and shipped to France for World War I. White officers were not excited about using them in combat, despite being under the overall command of John J (Black Jack) Pershing, so they sent the regiment to serve with the French Army. The 369th served with distinction until the end of the war, the whole unit receiving the Croix de Guerre. Another nickname earned by the regiment was "the Black Rattlers."

The regimental band, led by Lieutenant James Reese Europe, helped to introduce jazz to Europe.

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