369th Regiment "Harlem's Hellfighters"
90 Years Ago, July 4, 1918
"After a month's training learning the French rifle the 369th was sent into action in Bois-d'Hauze, Champagne. We stayed there until July 4th, 1918. Our ranks were thinned by the deadly German fire. We were completely worn out..." - Private Horace Pippin
On a cold February afternoon in 1919, thousands of people gathered along New York’s Fifth Avenue and swayed to music provided by military band leader James Reese. They cheered and clapped as the 369th Infantry Regiment marched to the new musical rhythm that was sweeping Europe and America: jazz.
The 369th referred to themselves as the “men of bronze,” but became better known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” because of their ferocity in battle. An all-black military unit, the regiment was under the command of mostly white officers. New York’s Union League, led by Col. William Hayward, organized the “Colored Regiments” of the Civil War. The Harlem Hellfighters fought the Germans at the battles of Belleau Wood and Chateau-Thiery. They distinguished themselves in combat, serving more than 6 months on the front lines while suffering more than 1400 casualties.
It was the first American unit to be awarded France’s highest military honor, the Croix de Guerre. One hundred and seventy of its men were awarded individual medals, including two who personally won the Croix de Guerre.
June 20, 1918. "Exploit of two colored infantrymen some weeks ago in repelling much larger German patrol, killing and wounding several Germans and winning Croix de Guerre by their gallantry, has roused fine spirit of emulation among colored troops, all of whom are looking forward to more active service. Only regret expressed by colored troops is that they are not given more dangerous work to do. They are especially amused at the stories being circulated that the American colored troops are placed in the most dangerous positions and all are desirous of having more active service than has been permitted them so far."
What was it about the Harlem Hell Fighters that produced so many creative people, in addition to James Reese Europe and Noble Sissle, the 369th produced a great African American artist. In 1917, during World War I, Private Horace Pippin, Co. K, 369th Infantry, American Expeditionary Force, was sent to fight in the trenches of France. Twelve years after his return home, he began to paint his memories of his days as a soldier.
"The war brought out all of the art in me," he said years later. "I came home with all of it in my mind, and I paint from it today."
Pippin kept a diary in which he recorded sketches and thoughts about his wartime experiences.
In Shell Holes and Observation Balloon, Champagne Sector, (above) Pippin recalls an abandoned battle site. The earth has been ruptured by shell fire; the farmhouses have been cracked and torn apart. Footprints mark the path where soldiers once tramped. An observation balloon rises on the horizon. The entire painting is desolate, painted in black, white, and tones of gray. It seems that life on this patch of land is over and will never return.
"...At daybreak we were to start our advancement.... Men laying all over wounded and dead, some was being carried. We wished we could help the wounded but we couldn't. We had to leave them there and keep advancing, ducking from shell hole to shell hole all day...the snipers were plentiful. I remember spotting a shell hole and made a run for it. Just as I was within three feet and getting ready to dive in I were hit in the shoulder. There was four in the shell hole. One bound my wound the best he could and they all left me alone...."
Lance & Kate, Shot Down At Rao's!
BICYCLING champ Lance Armstrong had some trouble impressing new gal pal Kate Hudson the other night. Armstrong - strangely unaware of the reservation system at legendarily restrictive Rao's, where regulars have their own tables and everyone else must wait months - thought he and Hudson might be able to walk into the East 114th Street eatery and be served. But he was out of luck, a spy reports. The managers apologized, but Armstrong and Hudson left hungry, searching for another restaurant.
New York Post/June 15, 2008All the above with standing , you're always welcome to have a drink at the bar!
The other option if you can't get a reservation at
NYC's Original Rao's Restaurant,
better odds are available in Las Vegas at their new location.
Free at Last, Free at Last!
Harlem Leaders are Freed a Last...
As a citizen of Harlem, "the Black Capital of the World" you might expect its leaders to be quick to endorse the first major African American contender for the Presidency of the United States.
Well, all in good time...
"An eloquent brother,
a good brother,
a decent brother..."
- Cornel West,
“We're going to see a tremendous increase in people believing that Obama is the one…
There’s a great deal of excitement around the neighborhood.”
- State Senator Bill Perkins 1/3/2008
“Obama picked up the check and left a $10 tip…” - Judith Perez, their waitress 11/30/2007
"The breakfast was very nice, and he understands the issues, and you know,
I wished him well." - Mayor Michael Bloomberg "A vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote to elect someone who has proven through time, to me and to this community and this country, that she has the experience to make things happen." - Rev. Calvin O. Butts 2/20/2008“We pledged to support her to the end. Our problem is not being able to determine when the hell the end is.” Congressman
Charles B. Rangel
"I told him that if he didn't run, he would hate himself for not testing the waters."
- Congressman Charles B. Rangel
“I’m very committed to Sen. Clinton,” Paterson told reporters. “When I sign up to support a candidate, it’s to the end. I actually supported Custer, but I did leave right before the attack.” - Governor David Paterson
"Unless she has some good reasons -- which I can't think of -- I really think we ought to get on with endorsements"
- Congressman Charles B. Rangel 6/5/2008
"Today as I suspend my campaign, I congratulate him on the victory he has won and the extraordinary campaign he has run. I endorse him and throw my full support behind him and I ask of you to join me in working as hard for Barack Obama as you have for me," - Senator Hillary R. Clinton 6/7/2008
Philadelphia Loves Harlem!
Catch the Raves...
A few words from HarlemOneStop Customers!
"I enjoyed my visit touring Hamilton Heights' homes and apartments, and the history of Strivers Row. I especially enjoyed our tour guide, John Reddick, who was very knowledgeable of Harlem's history.
Kudos to Londel's Restaurant."
- Deborah Ross Philadelphia, PA
"Quite an enjoyable trip. I enjoyed learning about and touring the houses of Harlem. I will tell others about this trip and the purpose of the funds to encourage more people to want to visit. Keep up the good work."
- Jackie Greene - Philadelphia, PA
"I had never been to Harlem....it was culturally, educationally, and ethnically pleasing to see this section of New York. I will do this again."
- Paulette Thompson Philadelphia, PA
"It was a BLAST! Even though I am from NYC and that area, it was good seeing it from another view point."
- Rene Vargas Philadelphia, PA
"I now have a voice and a face of Harlem. Thank you John for providing a soul to a place that's more than bricks and stone. I can almost see Billie Holiday heels hitting the sidewalk's pavement."- Roslyn S. Gaskins Philadelphia, Pa
"This was an amazing experience! It was so nice to see the beautiful houses that had a modern flair but yet still maintained the historic presence of Harlem."
- Kelli Satterthwaite Philadelphia, PA
"What a day! It was such a pleasure seeing homes and meeting the owners who understood the historical perspective of Harlem."
- Kimlar Satterthwaite Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, PA
"I had a fabulous time bringing history to life. Please include me on future Harlem events."
- Yolanda Middleton Philadelphia, PA
"A stunning look at Harlem's architecture, design and life from the inside out. Do yourself a favor and honor it, while you still can."
- Eugene Smith Philadelphia, PA
"Fantastic, fabulous, factual, fun, fulfilling.... and I'm glad I came."
- Jean Towns Philadelphia, PA
"A lovely trip from start to finish. I would like to go again next year."
- Debbie Lewis Philadelphia, PA
Hamilton Heights lifted my soul! What a wonderful experience to see and enter history. The homes were magnificent and maintained to perfection. I am so proud to be an African American and to be a part of this event. I am most honored to have John Reddick guide us through this journey with his incredible knowledge of the area. Harlem, here I come again and again....see you next year!
- Diane Satterthwaite Mt. Airy, Philadelphia, PA