Dear MCNA Family,
Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who were able to attend our events presenting esteemed author and photojournalist, Linda Hervieux during her west coast book tour of “Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War”. Both events, at UC Berkeley and the Alliance Française de SF, were at or over capacity which translates to a public that is engaged in and dedicated to supporting excellence in action. Our special guests included Hervieux, former journalist and news anchor, Ricki Stevenson, centenarian WWII hero, Carl Clark, UCSC Distinguished Dean and Professor, Tyler Stovall, and historian, entrepreneur and documentarian, Julia Browne (please google these amazing people). They complemented each other beautifully, and they created two magic events.
Hervieux spent years researching, and then located and interviewed African American WWII vets in their 90’s who considered their heroic exploits during the war as simply “doing their duty”. Through “Forgotten“, Hervieux has contributed an invaluable and distinctive resource to the massive body of work chronicling World War II. No one else has written about these particular men to the extent to which Hervieux has. In fact, she was told there wasn’t “enough to fill a book” about the only highly trained black combat force that landed on Omaha and Utah beaches: the heroic 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion. The 320th was all but forgotten until Hervieux shed light on their remarkable and very personal stories. “Forgotten” is that rare breed of page-turner-history book. It’s beautifully written–harrowing, heartbreaking, heartwarming, inspiring, and exhaustively researched and detailed. It is a poignant testament to those venerable African American men of the era whom you may know or may have known.
Maison de la Culture Noire Américaine strives to uncover and share in a celebratory way the multi-faceted, complex historic and present-day relationship between African Americans and France. The “Forgotten” events were the latest example of that mission in action.
Thank you for your continued support and remember the 320th!
Robin Bates, Executive Director, MCNA
Connie Bryan, Associate Director, MCNA