"We Return Fighting" : The Harlem Hellfighters in World War I" - FREE

by  National Museum of the U.S. Army

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From the Revolutionary War and through the present day, African Americans have proudly served the U.S. Army, many serving in segregated units and not always given the respect and honor due to them.

On December 27, 1918, the 369th Infantry Regiment docked in Brest, France. The all-Black regiment, comprised of men from Harlem, New York and surrounding cities, were assigned to the Service of Supplies – unloading ships and building roads and railroads. Three months later, the regiment was transferred to the French Army where they were given a position on the frontlines and earned a new nickname: “Hellfighters.” In the 191 days the men spent on the front lines no ground was lost and no man was captured. Their actions earned them accolades in France and they were celebrated on their return to the United States.

Explore the commitment, challenges, and bravery of the Harlem Hellfighters. Learn how their actions, along with the thousands of other Black World War I veterans, contributed to the Allied victory. Examine the legacy of their service and its impact on the civil rights movement.

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About This Program


Point to Point: $0.00
Point to Point Premium: $0.00


This program is free


45 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Teacher(s)/Educator(s), Parent, Adult Learners, Homeschool/Family , Learning PodPublic Library: Library Patrons, Library Staff

Minimum participants:


Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)

Booking Information

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Provider's Cancellation Policy

Cancellations must be made 48 hours prior to the start of the program.

About This Provider

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National Museum of the U.S. Army

Fort Belvoir, VA
United States

The National Museum of the United States Army provides the only comprehensive portrayal of Army history and traditions through the eyes of the American Soldier. Through preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting invaluable artifacts, the National Army Museum creates learning opportunities for all visitors and bonds the American people to their oldest military service.

We are America’s Army Museum.

Program Details


The program guides participants through an examination of primary resources including artwork, photographs, and letters to learn about the accomplishments, sacrifices, and commitments of the Harlem Hellfighters. Participants will be encouraged to look closely and think critically about primary sources and artifacts. Time will be allowed for questions and answers.


At the end of this lesson students, will be able to

*Describe the U.S. Army’s role in World War I.

*Understand how African Americans have used military service as a strategy to advance civil rights.

*Describe the impact of the African American military service on the home front before, during, and following World War I.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

Common Core Standards

Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.

State Standards

Virginia Standards of Learning

United States History 1865 to Present
USII.4 The student will apply history and social science skills to explain the changing role of the United States from the late 19th century through World War I by
C)analyzing the major causes and consequences of World War I and examining the roles of key leaders and groups;

USII.5 The student will apply history and social science skills to understand the social, political, economic, and technological changes of the early 20th century by
H)describing racial segregation, housing discrimination via redlining, the rise of “Jim Crow” laws, Black Codes, and threats of violence, including, but not limited to intimidation, lynchings, armed conflicts, suppressed voting rights, and limits on political participation faced by African Americans and other people during post-Reconstruction; and
I) analyzing events and impacts of African American leaders in response to “Jim Crow,” including, but not limited to the formation of the NAACP, strikes, protests, the role of HBCUs, and the work of leaders like Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Mary White Ovington, Ida B. Wells-Barnett.

Virginia and United States History
VUS.11 The student will apply history and social science skills to analyze the emerging role of the United States in world affairs during the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries by
C) evaluating the events, leaders, and changes that brought America out of a period of isolationism to enter WWI;
D) evaluating the United States’ involvement in World War I, including, but not limited to Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points and the establishment of the League of Nations; and

VUS.12 The student will apply history and social science skills to understand key international and domestic events, interests, and philosophies of the 1920s and 1930s by
A) analyzing the attacks on civil liberties, including, but not limited to the re-emergence of the Ku Klux Klan, the Chicago riot of 1919, the Tulsa Race Massacre and the decimation of Black Wall Street, and the institution of redlining and resulting racial wealth gaps;