Thursday, June 05, 2014

70th Anniversary of D-Day

Josephine Baker
As we all know, tomorrow, the 6th of June, will be the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.   We will commemorate the day when, after much long-term planning and military strategising, Allied forces stormed the Normandy beaches for the first major turning-point in the Second World War.

The men and women who fought in the war were incredibly heroic, and are rightly being celebrated for their efforts. But as the BBC screens interviews with veterans, has the Black contribution been overlooked by the major media once again?

My Dad is a WWII veteran who fought in the Italian campaign, one of many thousands of African American soldiers who did so. Little has been mentioned about their war. Check out my blog: The Negro Soldier

Tony Warner of London Black History Walks has given many presentations about the Black contributions to both World Wars. Did you know, for example, that the troops that liberated Paris were mostly made up of West African soldiers, as most white French soldiers had been either killed or captured? But when the triumphant march into the city was filmed, the Black soldiers were ordered to the back, so they are not seen on the footage we usually see.  
The lady pictured above, Josephine Baker, was an African American dancer in Paris. Impossibly glamorous, she became the toast of Paris, She was later decorated as a war hero by the French for the part she played in the French Resistance.

See London Black History Walks for details of the Black Spitfire pilots, How Black People Won World War Two, and more.

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