Thanks to Hugh Muir and the Guardian for a prominent mention of Forgotten: The Untold Story of D'Day's Black Heroes. Muir recounts the extraordinary treatment extended to African-American soldiers in wartime Britain. After the Brexit vote, hate crimes surged in Britain. He writes, "At times more tense and fearful in our history we have been more willing to show kindness to people of difference. We have been better than this." Click here to read his column.
The 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion spent a brief, but blissful, time in the villages ringing Pontypool in southern Wales. Here, the men were welcomed as friends. Jessie and Godfrey Prior family took in homesick GI WIlson Monk, who became a surrogate son. Members of the Prior family helped in the research for Forgotten and several attended Linda's talk at the Pontypool Museum on Dec. 10, 2016. It was a great day!
Welsh historian Neil Sinclair introduced Linda's talk on Dec. 8 in the swank cafe at Octavo Books in Cardiff, Wales. Sinclair has written about the history of this area, Tiger Bay, which once played host to seamen from around the world. Many of them were men of color who settled in this friendly, unusually diverse corner of Wales. Traces of that history are all but lost, sadly. Urban renewal has made the docks a center of restaurants and bars.
It was a full house at Daunt Books Hampstead for the UK launch party for FORGOTTEN! Friends, history buff and Daunt regulars turned out in numbers for a reading, question + answer, and tapas home-made by Linda's friends Dani and Max. It was a great night. Thanks to the fabulous team at Daunt for hosting, and everyone who came out!
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!
Paris has always been a haven for Americans, including Americans of color. This week in Paris we are celebrating African-American history with a series of talks and tributes. The centerpiece is extraordinary exhibition, The Color Line, which tells the story of black America and segregation through art. It is a stunning collection of works, many that I was seeing for the first time. Check it out before it closes Jan. 5, 2017.
I was happy to be invited to speak about my book FORGOTTEN at Reid Hall at Columbia University's campus in Montparnasse. Thanks to Brian Spence at Abbey Books in the 5th arrondissement for selling books to all who came.
The months the men of FORGOTTEN spent training in the villages of Wales before D-Day left a lasting impression. For the black GIs of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion, it was the first time in their lives they were welcomed as men, worthy of respect, just like the white Americans soldiers. To the Welsh, it was a brush with foreigners that they would never forget. For most of them, it was the first time they had men people of color. The black GIs -- the "tan Yanks" as they were affectionately called -- were the talk of the towns ringing Pontypool, Wales.
At an event on Sept. 24 to commemorate the black soldiers, historians, descendants of the soldiers, local residents and descendants of the families who welcomed the African Americans gathered at Trinity Methodist Church in Abersychan. Some of the men of FORGOTTEN like Wilson Monk were billeted there in early 1944. I was honored to be a part of the ceremony organized by the BBC to remember the black soldiers. Footage will be used in the upcoming series Black in Britain, set to air in November. The plaque affixed to the church wall behind me and historian Neil Sinclair honors the black soldiers. I'm looking forward to returning to the area on December 10 for a launch at the Pontypool Museum. See my events.
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.