Cynthia E. Griffin- | 2/10/2010, 8 p.m.
Ivan J. Houston and filmmaker Fred Kuwornu join forces to discuss the 92nd Buffalo division--the all African-American combat unit that fought in Italy during World War II.
They will participate in several free screenings and panel discussions. The first is Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. at the California African American Museum, 600 Sate Drive, Exposition. Admission is free but reservations are required: (213) 744-2056. Parking is $8 per vehicle and the entrance is at 38th and Figueroa streets.
The second presentation Wednesday begins at 7 p.m. at the Albert and Dana Broccoli Theatre in the George Lucas Building, SCA 112 on the USC campus, 900 W. 34th St. Admission is free, but reservations are required, and can be made on the web site http://cinema.usc.edu/InsideBuffalo. Parking is $8 at USC gate give. (Jefferson boulevard at McClintock.)
Kuwornu, an Italian filmmaker of African heritage (Ghanian) wrote and directed the film "Inside Buffalo," which details little-known aspects of the Buffalo Solider story including friendships forged between African Americans and Italian partisan fighters, and the villagers they liberated from fascist rulers.
The film captures the memories of Vernon Baker, the last living African American soldier awarded the Medal of Honor in WWII.
Houston, a veteran of the 92nd Division has written the book "Black Warriors: The Buffalo Soldiers of WWII," which is a survivor's memoir of the contributions this unit made to the allied victory over the Germans.
Houston, who served in the division as a 19-year-old, writes in his web site discription of the book that the division "entered combat for the first time on the night of Aug. 23-24, 1944, on the south bank of the Arno River near Pontadera, Italy, not far from Pisa and the Ligurian Sea. The 370th was an untested Negro infantry regiment in the segregated U.S. army, poised to fight against the retreating battle-wise forces of Germany?s 16th Panzergrenadier Reichsfuehrer Division under the overall command of Field Marshal Albert Kesselring. Once Herman Goering's deputy, "Smiling Albert" had commanded Germany's air fleets during the invasion of France and the Battle of Britain in 1940 and later served as Gen. Erwin Rommel's co-director of Germany's North African campaign."
Led mostly by bigoted Southern White officers, the 4,000 Black men in the division fought a two-sided war, and their victories went mostly unknown.