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History Happy Hour

Episode 90: Immortal Valor: African American Medal of Honor Recipients

Author Robert Child joins us this week to discuss the incredible, and all too often overlooked, valor of African American servicemen during World War II and the efforts to recognize their outstanding bravery. Child's new book; Immortal Valor: The Black Medal of Honor Winners of World War II, explores this shamefully overlooked episode in America's World War II story. To learn more about these brave Americans, we can also recommend the books listed below.

Roi Ottley’s World War II: The Lost Diary of an African American Journalist, Mark Huddle I had recommended Huddle’s book when discussing an earlier book about African American troops stationed in UK during the war. Ottley’s columns during the war are fantastic and give a moving and compelling description of the lives of African American soldiers in the ETO.   Forgotten: Teh Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, Linda Hervieux Author’s history of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion highlights a forgotten “D-Day Unit” and the important role that this African American unit unexpectedly played on June 6, 1944. The author also delves into the case of one member of the unit who, many believe, should have received the Medal of Honor for his valor on D-Day.   The 784th Tank Battalion in World War II: History of an African American Armored Unit in Europe, Joe Wilson A solid military history of an African American armored unit in the ETO. Author does a good job of providing a detailed military history of an ordinary tank battalion. It does not shy away from the impact of racism on the story, but this does not overshadow the account of the units military accomplishments.   The Employment of Negro Troops, Ulysees Lee This is the official army “green book” history of African American soldiers in World War II. As an official history it can be dry reading at times, but the facts, figures and information are unsurpassed.   Black Warriors: The Buffalo Soldiers of World War II: Memoirs of the Only Negro Infantry Division to Fight in Europe During World War II, Ivan J. Houston. A wonderful unit history/ personal memoir of the 92nd Infantry Division, which served in Italy from 1943-45. An often forgotten unit’s contribution to a frequently overlooked campaign.

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