Unknown Soldiers

Films, History

I have been on the National Archives web page for the last couple of days, researching films and photos. While looking around, I found this photo:


Rickshaws are almost as common in India as they are in China. Some of the…troops are on their way to see `Tarzan’s New York Adventure’—in India…”

African American soldiers going to see a Tarzan film in Calcutta. What can you say about that? It was interesting to find this in conjunction with the rumbles about the new Clint Eastwood film about the battle for Iwo Jima, where the absence of Black soldiers has been noticed by those who took part in it, like Sgt. McPhatter:

…almost 900 African-American troops took part in the battle of Iwo Jima, including Sgt McPhatter…..“Of all the movies that have been made of Iwo Jima, you never see a black face,” said Mr McPhatter. This is the last straw. I feel like I’ve been denied, I’ve been insulted, I’ve been mistreated. But what can you do? We still have a strong underlying force in my country of rabid racism.”

And here is a tidbit about the newsreel footage from that time, from auhor Melton McLaurin:

One of the marines I interviewed said that the people who were filming newsreel footage on Iwo Jima deliberately turned their cameras away when black folks came by….