Friday, January 14, 2011

A Distant Shore: African Americans of D-Day,
DVD directed by Doug Cohen

The 490th Port Battalion was an all-African-American unit, commanded by white officers. In fact, 75% of all US Transportation Corps units were composed of segregated black troops. I became interested in the 490th when I learned that it served on Utah Beach along with my grandfather's own 519th Port Battalion. After a little Googling I discovered A Distant Shore. I had been speaking to Charles Sprowl, a veteran of the 490th. When I asked him if he knew about the film, and he told me "Yeah, I'm in it!"

I ordered the DVD and was very impressed. This History Channel Documentary interviews Sprowl and several other black port battalion veterans and shows rarely seen film footage of supply operations on the Normandy beaches. Few people realize that almost two thousand African-Americans took part in the Normandy invasion. The war was rough on everyone, but these black troops had the added challenge of serving in a segregated army. With so little written about the black experience in WWII, this film is a must-see.

On you can listen to a 9 minute 2007 radio interview with the director and port battalion veteran David Brown. They discuss the film and Brown describes his experience in the war.

1 comment:

  1. I just watched this, it's brilliant, made me laugh, made me cry, made me angry! I was proud to hear about how the guys enjoyed their time in England especially as my Dad is a result of British Hospitality! My Grandfather was probably in the 386th, 490th or 494th Port Battalion stationed at Maghull, near Liverpool.


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