Members of the "Harlem Hellcats" the 369th Infantry Division in World War I. The Historical Society of Forest Park presents a talk about black soldiers in WWI Feb. 25 at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore. (Courtesy Historical Society of Forest Park)

World War I started 101 years ago in 1914. More than 380,000 African-American soldiers fought in World War I, enduring segregated barracks and sometimes relegated to the most difficult and dirty tasks.

The Historical Society of Forest Park will present a talk on Wednesday, Feb.25, on African-American soldiers who served as U.S. soldiers in the First World War. Retired U.S. History Teacher Lawrence Broughton will give the presentation at Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore.

Broughton, who is a director of the historical society, formerly taught at Proviso East High School. His talk will focus on regiments like the 369th Sustainment Infantry Brigade, nicknamed the “Harlem Hellfighters,” one of the few “colored” combat regiments. They earned the Croix de Guerre from the French Army. 

“Our enemies gave us our name, [which] is an honor,” said Col. Reginald Sanders of the 369th. The 370th Infantry Regiment was from Illinois.

For those who want to know more, bookseller Augie Aleksy has several titles in stock about African-American soldiers in WWI.

If you go

African-American Soldiers in the First World War

Lecture by Lawrence Broughton

When: Wednesday, Feb. 25 6 p.m. 

Where: Centuries and Sleuths Bookstore, 7419 Madison St., Forest Park

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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