Lest We Forget - African American Military History by Researcher, 
				Author and Veteran Bennie McRae, Jr.


Documenting African American D-Day Veterans

"A Tribute to Those Who Also Served"

This coming June, France will be staging a unique historical celebration for the 60th anniversary of the landing of Allied Forces on the coasts of Normandy, France. Nearly a quarter of a million spectators are expected. 

Sixty years later, thousands will be crossing the Channel again, this time in peace. For a few days, they will return to French places of battle, where their sacrifice helped change the course of history. The youngest veterans are pushing 80 and so this year's celebrations will be particularly poignant. 

If past celebrations are any indication, a void will be felt at receptions, in the ranks and on the photographs: that of the African-American veterans who served their country alongside their "other" brothers in arms. 

Myself a mixed-race French-American born, raised and educated in Normandy, I have always been surprised at the gaping lack of information and the overall disinterest in the African-American contribution to the war effort. In France, few know that the majority of Blacks served in segregated supply and engineering units and that they were not sent into combat.

Here in the United States, it takes devoted research to find the facts on the feats of black soldiers in any of the wars and particularly in the D-Day chapter.  

As a documentary photographer and a Norman, I wish to help fill the historical gaps on this subject.

I propose to record, in photographs and audio recordings, the historical experience of the last living African-American D-Day veterans; I would like to witness and let them reminisce, in the name of those already passed, of the pain and pride, of the battle moments lived and of the harsh reality of the racial component in their wartime experience. 

For this project, I need contacts to:

  •  black veterans who were in or passed through Normandy in 1944.

  •  (black) veterans going to the celebrations in France this coming June

  •  associations organizing trips to Normandy this coming June

  •  people involved in historical research on WWII African American veterans

  • possible financial and/or logistical sponsors for letters of support, endorsement of the project, financial aid, publicity support. 


Samuel Wooten

swoot@earthlink.net or (415)2419421 in San Francisco


Through my work, I wish to imprint in the minds of all, the figures of the last African-American D-Day veterans who served their country and whose participation in one of history's greatest war moments would otherwise disappear hardly leaving a trace... this is meant to be

"a tribute to those who also served"!

Return to World War II




Category: World War II | Subcategory: Veterans | Tags: WWII , 1944
Related Topics / Keywords / Phrases: 1942, 1944, African American, African-American, Andy, Old, San Francisco (California), World War II,