Friday, April 3, 2015

A Conversation With Jeffrey Sammons and John Morrow About the 'Harlem Hellfighters'

Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons and Dr. John H. Morrow Jr. are the guests on this week's installment of The Chauncey DeVega Show where we discuss their new book "Harlem's Rattlers and the Great War".

They are both starred scholars.

Jeffrey T. Sammons is Professor in the Department of History at New York University and the author of Beyond the Ring: The Role of Boxing in American Society. John H. Morrow, Jr., Franklin Professor of History at the University of Georgia, is the author of several books, including The Great War: An Imperial History.

It has been more than 100 years since the beginning of World War One. In many ways, much more so than is generally understood by the American general public, World War One, "The Great War," has profoundly shaped the present. This is also true of the global colorline.

This conversation on The Chauncey Devega Show about World War One and one of the United States' most legendary and accomplished military units--the "Harlem Hellfighters"--is a wonderful lens into some "hidden" American history of which (unfortunately) too few are aware.

In this new episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Chauncey and his conversation partners Jeffrey Sammons and John Morrow talk about separating myth from fact regarding World War One and African-American military service, why World War One is understudied in America's schools, how the "Harlem Rattlers" came to be known as the "Harlem Hellfighters", the struggles and unique challenges faced by The Harlem Rattlers/Hellfighters as a unit, their experiences in Europe as one of America's most distinguished and accomplished military units, as well as how Jim and Jane Crow impacted its heroes upon their return stateside.

Jeffrey and John also share their opinions about how the story of the legendary Harlem Hellfighters is being adapted for a movie starring Will Smith--one that is based on a graphic novel by Max Brooks.

This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show with Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons and Dr. John H. Morrow Jr. can be listened to below or "watched" on the official Youtube channel for

The Chauncey DeVega Show can also be followed on Itunes and listened to via Stitcher on your smart phone or other related technology.

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Scopedog said...

I just finished reading THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS graphic novel written by Max Brooks--easily one of the best GNs I've ever read, and filled with Canaan White's stunning artwork.

chauncey devega said...

I look Brooks. I saw it, but was not impressed with the storytelling. Maybe because I know the real history? What else are you reading. I need to get the trade for Southern Bastards, and to catch up on Saga.

Scopedog said...

Sorry to hear that you didn't care much for the GN's storytelling--but if there is a silver lining, it's that hopefully it will spur people to find out more about the real history of the Harlem Hellfighters (it certainly has spurred me on to find out more).

As for my current reading list: AMERICAN TABLOID by James Ellroy; GENOCIDAL ORGAN by Project Itoh, and the FOUNDATION trilogy by Asimov.

GENOCIDAL ORGAN is actually a re-read; it was the 2007 debut novel of Itoh, who sadly passed away in 2009 due to cancer. He had just completed his last full novel HARMONY. Both are being adapted into anime. GO was quite good--a dark story, but well-written. HARMONY is a sequel, but can also work as a stand-along novel.

A trailer for both; and an adaptation of an Itoh novel that was finished by a close friend of his:

Shady Grady said...

I also enjoyed the Brooks graphic novel. In any event the story of the Hellfighters and the larger tale of struggles for black humanity before the Birmingham Bus Boycott is something that should be more widely known.