Acclaimed authors, family program, and oral histories highlight month-long celebration

CHICAGO (February 10, 2023) – In celebration of Black History Month, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML) will host free virtual events exploring the history of African Americans in the military. Programs include an author discussion: “Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad,” a webinar: “Double Victory: WWII and Civil Rights,” a family program: “Fearless Readers Virtual Author Talk: The United States V. Jackie Robinson,” and oral history recordings from five African American service members.

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 11 a.m., join the PMML and Matthew Delmont, civil rights expert and Dartmouth history professor, for a virtual conversation and discussion of his new book, Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad, detailing the stories of many African Americans including, Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Ella Baker, Thurgood Marshall, and James Thompson. Register for the discussion here.

On Thursday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m., join the “Double Victory: WWII and Civil Rights” webinar discussion with Al Wheat, Director of Education for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. The webinar will illumite how World War II showed many Black Americans that they were fighting for freedoms they did not have themselves at home, lighting a fire that would ignite into the modern Civil Rights Movement.” Register for the webinar here.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, at 11 a.m., join the PMML for its first-ever Fearless Readers Virtual Author Talk. Award-winning children’s book author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen will give viewers a virtual picture book reading of The United States V. Jackie Robinson followed by a book discussion. Families will learn about Jackie Robinson who is best known as the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. Before his baseball career, he stood up against racism and segregation in the U.S. Army – and was taken to court because of it. Register for this virtual conversation here.

In addition, the PMML’s Holt Oral History Program will highlight five African American service members throughout the month. The Holt Oral History Program is dedicated to conserving the unique stories of service of the Citizen Soldiers. February’s highlighted histories feature the stories of Dr. Mary Roberson, a U.S. Navy 3rd Class Petty Officer and service supervisor of Lake County Veterans and Family Services Foundation; Corporal William Cook, a U.S. marine who enlisted with the goal of equality through his military service during the struggle of Civil Rights; Timuel Black, activist, historian, WWII army veteran; John Perry Jr., a Korean War military veteran; and Diana Ramsey, 1st Lieutenant, a Vietnam War army corps nurse.

“While the Pritzker Military Museum & Library will continue our journey to present all areas of American history throughout the entire year, we are pleased to be hosting a concentration of programs highlighting the African American military experience during Black History Month,” said Pritzker Military Museum & Library President, Dr. Krewasky A. Salter. “These programs are designed to enlighten us about the military contributions and sacrifices African American men and women made while serving our great nation. These programs will also examine some of the challenges these American men and women faced. We also encourage all to listen to the stories of our five highlighted veterans from the PMML’s Holt Oral History Program, read some of our recommended books and attend our free virtual events.”

To learn more about the Museum & Library’s vitual Black History Month programs, oral histories, and African American book recommendations, visit the PMML’s website.

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