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Bishop Gregg Visits Black Troops…and a Koala!

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While doing research for our Black History Month programming, we came across this photo from the National Archives. During World War II, the 630th Ordnance was based in Australia, and along the way, interacted with some of the local wildlife. Here they are with the koala that was adopted by Pfc. Sammy Hurt. Holding the koala is Bishop John Andrew Gregg, leader of the African Methodist Church in North Central United States and Envoy of President Roosevelt.

In 1943, Bishop Gregg visited black troops who were fighting overseas. His goal was to be a face for the President back home, checking on the physical and mental condition of these soldiers. After his tour of Australia, he extensively toured the European Theater, traveling more than 100,000 miles total.

Bishop Gregg and members of the 630th Ordnance Company in North Queensland. July 21, 1943. From the National Archives.

Check back for more stories featuring African American leaders and troops, and join us for the following special Black History Month programs:

Lunchbox Lecture — “Double Victory: Black WWII Veterans and the Struggle for Civil Rights”
by Gemma Birnbaum
Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Digital Education Coordinator Gemma Birnbaum will tell the stories of African American soldiers and their experiences in postwar society. While the war was officially over, some African American GIs remained in Germany, aiding in its rebuilding. Others returned home, only to face the same racial inequalities that plagued the US before the war. Honor Black History Month by learning about the brave Black men and women who turned postwar America on its head. Feel free to bring your lunch or just come and enjoy the lecture. For more information call 504-528-1944 x 229.

Virtual Field Trip — Fighting for a Double Victory: African Americans in WWII
Thursday, February 16th, 2012, 9:00 am CST and 1:00 pm CST

During WWII, African American fought for a Double Victory, one over fascism abroad and one over discrimination and inequality at home. In this FREE Electronic Field Trip Fighting for a Double Victory: African Americans in WWII, students will meet Pearl Harbor hero Dorie Miller, the Montford Point Marines and the Tuskegee Airmen. They will learn about the struggle for racial equality in war factories and in the barracks and trace the historic path from segregation to integration in the military and beyond. Perfect for students in grades 7 – 12.

Find out more and register.

Family Workshop: Red Tails — the Tuskegee Airmen
Saturday, February 25, 2012, 10:00 am – 11:30 am

Explore the air war against Germany and learn about the Tuskegee Airmen — African-American fighter pilots — who escorted our bombers, saving many lives. Have fun building your own P-51 Mustang model plane! Workshops are designed for children ages 8 – 12. Pre-registration is required.

Register here!

See a full schedule of events and other resources for Black History Month at The National WWII Museum.

Posted by Gemma Birnbaum, Digital Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.

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