Mayor Tecklenburg pays tribute to WWI African American regiment
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Mayor John Tecklenburg gave tribute to the 371st African American regiment to serve in WWI on Tuesday. Up until now, the soldiers did not receive the recognition or the credit for the sacrifices they made on the battlefield.
Sgt. Perry James IV was named after his grandfather Sgt. Perry Lloyd who served in the 371st regiment in 1917. After hearing stories of his grandfather in the regiment, Perry sought out to discover as much information as he could about them. He even took a trip to France where his grandfather was wounded on the battlefield.
After learning more about the history of the camp, James learned his grandfather was based at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. James wanted to bring awareness to the many men who lost their lives fighting for democracy and who never received the proper recognition they deserved. He said the history of the regiment should not be forgotten.
“I’m here now to tell the story of why,” James said. “When Mark Twain said the two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why, this is my why. I will be sharing the story to anyone who care to listen about the brave men of the 371st infantry regiment.”
Tecklenburg said during that time only one in four were African American camps, with one of them being in South Carolina.
“They fought bravely in a key battle that made a huge difference in the victory of WWI,” Tecklenburg said. “An African American regiment from South Carolina. So, uncovering these stories is remarkable but it’s all part of telling the full story of us as Americans.”
Tecklenburg said they’re planning to place the names of the men who served in the 371st African American regiment on the new WWI monument that will be located near the Ashley River bridges. He said they hope to get that done within the next couple of years to continue to honor their lives and legacy.
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