What are the details behind the heroic acts pictured in a poster about two African-American soldiers in World War I? Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) helps find the answer. Then, is this a hand-drawn map of Valley Forge that George Washington used during the American Revolution? And does a Tucson man own one of the first transistor radios ever made? Finally, after 70 years, a Washington man wonders whether a business card ties his father to Prohibition-era underworld crime.
Watch History Detectives Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 7pm.
OUR COLORED HEROES with KANSAS CITY CONNECTION
Host Tukufu Zuberi switched roles for this story and brought a question of his own to HISTORY DETECTIVES. Tukufu collects posters featuring African Americans in combat. One in particular intrigues him. Titled Our Colored Heroes, text on the poster tells an incredible World War I story. A raiding party of more than 20 Germans attacked two African American doughboys on sentry duty. The poster quotes General Pershing who praises the two colored sentries who ‘continued fighting after receiving wounds and despite the use of grenades by a superior force.’ Did all of this actually happen? And why was this poster made? Tukufu, along with fellow HISTORY DETECTIVES host Elyse Luray track down the truth, and call on the insight of U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to answer Tukufu’s question.
The family involved, the Herman Johnson family, apparently has a prominent standing both at UMKC and KU. Herman Johnson was a Tuskegee Airman. UMKC has a minority scholarship in his name and a building named after Herman and his wife, Herman and Dorothy Johnson Hall. KU has a Dorothy Johnson scholarship fund.
Their daughter Tara Johnson, who lives in Toledo, OH, frequently travels to KC for business, the company name: Herman Johnson, LLC. Tara and her son DeMarqus appear in the story.