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New Documentary, 'African Americans in World War II: A Legacy of Patriotism and Valor' Previews in New York City

NEW YORK, March 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A new effort to tell the story of the true contributions of African-Americans to the allied victory in World War II continued in New York today.

At the City College of New York, the National Minority Military Museum Foundation and the Greenberg Center for Legal Education and Public Policy held the fourth in a series of national press previews of the major new documentary film, "African Americans in World War II: A Legacy of Patriotism and Valor". The film tells, for the first time, the story of the more than one million African-American men and women who fought in World War II.

"With this documentary, we want to bring to light a story that's been untold for over 50 years," says Lt. Col. Thomas G. Surface, Director of Public Affairs for the Department of the Army International Commemorations, who commissioned the documentary.

New York City-area schoolchildren, area African-American World War II veterans, educators, and community leaders were on hand to preview the film. The documentary features never-before-seen footage and interviews with more than 100 veterans and historians across America. Included are comments from the only living World War II African-American Medal of Honor winner, Vernon J. Baker.

ComTel Productions, Inc., a Massachusetts-based, minority-owned film and video production company, produced the film. The film was commissioned by the Department of Defense, Office of the Deputy Under Secretary of the United States Army for International Affairs. The planned public release of the program is Memorial Day 1997.

A major purpose of the documentary is to educate young people about the historic contributions of African-Americans who were fighting prejudice at home and in the military while they shed blood on foreign battlefields.

The National Minority Military Museum Foundation (NMMMF) a San Leandro, California-based foundation, plans to distribute as many as 10,000 videotape copies of the documentary, with curriculum guides, free of charge to schools all over the country, including New York City.

"Our young people need to understand that as a group they have a vested interest in this history," says Charles Blatcher, III, Founder and CEO of the NMMMF. "The sacrifices of past generations in World War II serves as the foundation to our rights of equal entitlement as citizens of this nation," he added.

According to the filmmakers, efforts are already underway for production of an additional series of programs on African-Americans in World War II which will compliment the work presented in this initial production.

Producer William H. Smith said that, "This first film production, while a good introduction of the subject, does not give the true breadth and variety of experience encountered by African-Americans during World War II. Additional work needs to be done to give a fuller understanding of African- American contributions."

"African Americans in World War II: A Legacy of Patriotism and Valor" will be released to the general public in May, at gala premieres in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

In addition, two bodies of art commissioned from renown African-American illustrator Mel Bolden and African-American artist Joe Sam, will be unveiled for the film's premiere.

SOURCE National Minority Military Museum Foundation
 -0- 3/25/97


/CONTACT: William H. Smith of ComTel Productions, Inc., 508-481-8899/

CO: National Minority Military Museum Foundation ST: New York, California, Massachusetts IN: ENT SU:

LZ-PD -- NETU025 -- 7115 03/25/97 16:14 EST http://www.prnewswire.com
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 25, 1997
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