Many thanks to Allen Coles 3rd of Columbia, South Carolina, for his email telling me about his late father, who was a member of the battalion chronicled in my book, FORGOTTEN. Sgt. Allen Jay Coles, Jr., waited decades to tell his children that he had landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day. A native of Brooklyn, he was one of the first to be drafted into service. He joked that it was the only lottery he ever "won." He was good friends with Wilson Monk, another 320th vet I was lucky to meet and who became like a second father to me. Allen sent me a photo of his parents the Monks at Café Zanzibar in New York, all of them looking young and gorgeous. Both men married their sweethearts while on furlough in December 1944, before they were shipped to the Pacific. Theirs was the only African-American unit during World War II to serve in both Europe and Asia. You can read more about Allen Coles here and Wilson Monk here.
Many thanks to Dr. John T. Mills and Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, for inviting Linda Hervieux and Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes to kick off their Black History Month series. Pictured with Linda is from right to left, Mills, Prof. Lola Ames, and G, a student who sprung for the book, something few starving students do anywhere.
After the publication of FORGOTTEN: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, Earl Coaston wrote to this website about his father, who was not in the book. For decades after landing in the killing field that was Omaha Beach, Coaston rarely spoke of the war. “Certainly the terror and horror of the war played a part," his son says, "but for him to give that part of himself to a country that did not believe that he deserved the respect due any human being, let alone a war veteran with two Bronze Stars, ate at him for the rest of his life.” You can read his full story here. See all the men of FORGOTTEN (so far) here. If you know a man who should be in this gallery, please contact Linda Hervieux here.
Good news! WWII Navy hero Carl Clark, 100, will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Mr. Clark helped saved his ship and many shipmates after a Japanese kamikaze attack but was denied proper recognition. Like Waverly Woodson, the Army Medal of Honor nominee I have written about extensively on this page, Mr. Clark was a victim of the US military's policy of denying top honors to African Americans. He finally got a Commendation Medal-- and a thank you -- in 2012. I'll always be thankful to Ricki Stevenson, Robin Bates and Constance Bryan for bringing us together last March for a talk at UC Berkeley. Dapper in his Navy uniform -- it still fit him perfectly -- he was still going strong and was a compelling speaker. He also wrote a memoir. Click here to read more about Mr. Clark.
In the shadow of the Washington Monument, the National African American Museum of History & Culture is a stunning addition to the National Mall in Washington, DC. Thanks to an invitation from director Lonnie Bunch, Linda was thrilled to speak there on Nov. 9. Even better, the journalist and author Wil Haygood ("The Butler," "Showdown") moderated a program delving into the issues in FORGOTTEN: Jim Crow America, segregation, the systematic mistreatment of African Americans before and after WW2. Many thanks to Will and everyone who turned out the day after a very long and grueling election night!
Among the thousands of soldiers who landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, there were two young men whose stories were remarkably similar. They both raced along the shooting gallery at the water's edge pulling the wounded to safety. One was injured during the landing. The other was not. One received the Medal of Honor. The other did not. Read about their stories HERE in The Daily Beast.
Thanks to NPR's Here & Now, recorded at WBUR in Boston, for inviting Linda Hervieux on the show to talk about FORGOTTEN: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, At Home and At War. They also published an excerpt from the book. Read it here.
Should D'Day's hero medic, Waverly Woodson, receive the Medal of Honor? That was question Al Sharpton explored on his MSNBC show PoliticsNation. Woodson, dubbed the invasion's No. 1 hero by the black press, was nominated for the nation's highest honor, though he never received it. His widow, Joann Woodson, eloquently made the case to Sharpton about her husband's heroism. Linda's Hervieux's book FORGOTTEN: The Untold Story of D-Day's Black Heroes, At Home and At War, makes the case for Woodson to posthumously receive this important award. See the interview here.