Harlem Hellfighters

Harlem Hellfighters- They sound like a bunch of courageous, hell fighting superheroes from Harlem in Manhattan, N.Y. They sound like people who gave their lives so that all may have freedom. It sounds like we should probably know who they are. Also, since people don’t always like reading a bunch of boring historical facts, it would be nice if some one told their story in an enthralling graphic novel.


Well the Harlem Hellfighters were hell fighting superheroes from Harlem. They did give their lives for the freedom of all Americans. Don’t feel too bad if you didn’t know who they were and someone did recently tell their story in an enthralling graphic novel. In fact American author and screenwriter Max Brooks published a graphic novel in 2014 about the Harlem Hellfighters, which has some ridiculously ridiculous illustrations by Caanan White. He is interviewed about his novel here. The book combines fact and fiction, but the main idea is accurate. It is still suggested to learn the facts about them, if you wanted to start with an interesting reenactment of their story this is a great place to do so.


 An illustration by Caanan White from Max Brooks Harlem Hellfighters

An illustration by Caanan White from Max Brooks Harlem Hellfighters









We also saved you some trouble on the factoids part. You can read below and watch this quick video by iostudio on Vimeo about the Hellfighters.

The Harlem Hellfighters were the 369th infantry, which happened to be an all black regiment, formerly the 15th Regiment New York Guard. They were one of the first regiments to arrive in France in 1917 and the first out of approximately 200,000 black soldiers. They also helped to repel the German offensive and helped launch a counteroffensive. 171 of the regiments officers and men received individual medals and the unit received a Croix de Guerre for taking Sechault, France.

This regiment produced a very famous regimental jazz band led by James Reese Europe. He showed equal leadership on the battlefield.

In 1917, the soldiers had not been permitted to participate in the farewell parade of New York’s National Guard. After political pressure they would be rewarded with a victory parade and a special dinner with city officials when they came home in February 1919.

The still operational 369th Regiment Armory is located on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 142nd and 143rd Streets in Harlem. It was built in 1933 for the 369th Regiment because of their outstanding military valor. If you are in NYC, go check it out!

369threg amory

Prospective: Have you ever held the door open for someone and they don’t even give you a nod or say thank you? I bet it makes you mad even if its only a little bit. Of course it is nice to be shown some type of gratitude for even something that takes about 2 seconds and no sacrifice to do. So imagine what the Hellfighters and countless others would think, being that they sacrificed their well being and many times their lives, if we don’t show them the least bit of gratitude and know who they are.

So what are your thoughts. Should we remember the Hellfighters? Comment below.

P.S. If you register to this page and chime in on this post you will be eligible to receive a copy the graphic novel mentioned above and/or a token from the BCC.

Be first to comment