NATGEO Photographer and ER Doctor's Discovery of All African American Regiment that Battled a Pandemic 100 Years Ago Inspires Hope Amongst Coronavirus
Dr. Jeff Gusky has found the only surviving trace of a World War I African American combat unit, called The Black Devils. The bravery displayed during the Spanish American War helped save America. Their leadership inspires unity and hope during the current COVID-19.
By: LiPav Consulting, LLC
Dr. Rex Ellis, then Chief Curator of the Museum, told Gusky he stumbled onto "'I HAVE A DREAM…BEFORE…
Twenty years before WWI, during The Spanish American War, The Black Devils became the first All African American unit in history to ever deploy in combat. They volunteered when American soldiers were dying in droves. Their fearlessness in the face of extreme personal danger, their brilliant wartime leadership, and their relentless belief in themselves show America how to win the war on the coronavirus.
It was called "The Experiment in Color" and was a Jackie Robinson moment that's all but unknown. Field hospitals run by African American surgeons were so clean that disease rates plummeted. Countless American lives were saved, and the pandemic was defeated. Chicago's All African American 8th Illinois National Guard Regiment (The official name of the Black Devils) represents one more example of "Hidden Figures."
The Black Devils came home heroes. With great pride, President McKinley invited the unit's African American commander to the White House. When fear, dread, and uncertainty gripped America, the 8th Illinois gave Americans hope. They are a reminder that amongst extreme fear and uncertainty by America, through grit and determination, together and working in unity and with equality, the fight can be won. The Black Devil's courage and belief in the country and themselves is a model of how Americans today must find strength and resolve during this time of high anxiety.
Dr. Gusky is touring the nation via remote access to share this incredible story. For more information, visit https://jeffgusky.com/