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First To Fight: The Black Tankers of WWII

First To Fight: The Black Tankers of WWII

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Item Number:
50 min.
Closed Caption:
A & E Entertainment
A group of African-American men who fought and died for the country that discriminated against them, during WWII, the 761st Tank Battalion made history as the first all black tank unit to see combat. And like the Tuskegee Airmen, they proved they were as competent as any soldier in the US military. Over the course of 183 days on the front, the 761st helped liberate more than 30 towns under Nazi control. Collectively they were awarded 11 Silver Stars, 70 Bronze Stars, 250 Purple Hearts, and a Medal of Honor. And more than 30 years after coming home, the 761st was finally recognized with the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation. Through the stories of a select group of surviving veterans, we examine the history of the battalion--how they came to be; the racism they faced; their battles to be allowed to fight; and courageous service in the European Theater. We also examine the larger issue of how the US military has evolved from a segregated institution.

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