Henry Johnson: Tale of Courage premiere

Henry Johnson Croix de Guerre

Henry Johnson displaying his French Croix de Guerre. / photo via Wikipedia

WMHT has a new documentary about Henry Johnson -- Henry Johnson: Tale of Courage -- premiering April 11 at 7:30 pm. It'll then air multiple times during the month.

But before that, there's a preview screening at the State Museum April 4 at 6 pm. A discussion will follow with producer Zeke Kubisch, city of Albany special community projects coordinator (and author and scholar) Barbara Smith, and historian Aaron Noble. The screening is free to attend, though WMHT does ask that you RSVP.

You probably know (should know) the outline of Henry Johnson's story. An Albany resident, he served in WWI with the Harlem Hellfighters, who had been placed under the command of French forces because of racism within the US Army. While on sentry duty in 1918 he fought off a surprise German attack of at least 12 soldiers and saved a fellow American soldier, all while being wounded multiple times. Upon his return to the United States he was initially hailed as a hero. But he was later marginalized after speaking out about the racism African-Americans faced in the military. Unable to work because of his war injuries, Johnson's personal life crumbled and he died at the age of 32.

It wasn't until 2015 -- and after the work of many people -- that Johnson was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

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