Celebrating Black History

By FPL_Staff

What thoughts come to mind when viewing this image?
What era would you guess this is from?

This is a photo of Corporal Lawrence Leslie McVey, Sr., 1897 – 1968.

Cpl. McVey served in the 369th Infantry Regiment during World War I. This infantry, which mostly consisted of black residents in Harlem, New York, went to war alongside their countrymen. However, racial tensions in the US Army led to the group’s assignment under French command. The Germans nicknamed them the “Harlem Hellfighters,” due to their excellent combat skills. Although the group suffered many casualties, they were triumphant in several key victories. Their bravery and valor earned the 369th Infantry Regiment the Croix de Guerre, a distinguished French military honor. Cpl. McVey wears the Croix de Guerre in this photo.  

Photo credit: Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of Gina R. McVey, Granddaughter. This media is in the public domain.

For more information on The Harlem Hellfighters and other black history stories, check out these selections:

The Harlem Hellfighters, opens a new window

Defining Moments in Black History, opens a new window

Black History: More Than Just A Month, opens a new window

The Gift of Black Folk, opens a new window


National Museum of African American History and Culture, opens a new window

369th Infantry Regiment (Harlem Hellfighters).

Published in: Salem Press Encyclopedia, 2022, Topic Overviews Public Libraries

By: Sheposh, Richard