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December 10, 2015

The Harlem Hellfighters – Vintage Photographs of The African-American 369th Infantry Regiment during World War I

First organized in 1916 as the 15th New York National Guard Infantry Regiment and manned by black enlisted soldiers with both black and white officers, the U.S. Army’s 369th Infantry Regiment, popularly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters,” was the best known African American unit of World War I.

Federalized in 1917, it prepared for service in Europe and arrived in Brest, France in December. The next month, the regiment became part of the 93rd Division (Provisional) and continued its training, now under French instructors. In March, the regiment finally received its Federal designation and was reorganized and reequipped according to the French model. That summer, the 369th was integrated into the French 161st Division and began combat operations.

Soldiers of the 369th Infantry Regiment stand at attention, 1918. (Interim Archives/Getty Images)

Members of the 369th Infantry band perform under the direction of Lt. James Reese Europe in France, 1918. (Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Members of the 369th in combat on the Western Front, 1918. (Corbis)

Members of the 369th Infantry band perform at an American Red Cross hospital in Paris, 1918. (Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Lt. Europe and the 369th band on their way back to New York, 1919. (Corbis)

Soldiers of the 369th wearing the Cross of War medal pose for a photo on their trip back to New York, 1919. (National Archives)

Members of the 369th arrive back in New York, 1919. (Corbis)

Cpl. Fred McIntyre of the 369th poses with a bullet-framed photo of Kaiser Wilhelm which he carries for good luck, c.1918. (Corbis)

1919 (Corbis)

Officers of the 369th and 370th return home bearing the Cross of War medal, 1919. (Corbis)

Sgt. Henry Johnson of the 369th poses wearing the Cross of War, awarded for bravery in an outnumbered battle against German forces. Feb. 12, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

The 369th parades up Fifth Avenue upon their return to New York. Feb. 17, 1919. (FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Feb. 17, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Feb. 17, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Lt. Reese leads the 369th band in a parade upon their return to New York City. Feb. 17, 1919. (Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

The 369th parades through the streets of Harlem. Feb. 17, 1919. (Library of Congress)

Wounded soldiers of the 369th ride in their victory parade. Feb. 17, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Spectators gather to watch the 369th on their return parade. Feb. 17, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

A wounded veteran watches the victory parade of the 369th. Feb. 17, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Spectators cheer on the 369th, formerly known as the 15th Regiment, upon their return to New York. Feb. 17, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

Lt. James Reese Europe leads the 369th band in their victory parade in New York. Feb. 17, 1919. (Bettmann/Corbis)

(via Mashable/ Retronaut)


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