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Langston Hughes

Dorie Miller and the legacy of World War II's African-American heroes

Dorie Miller and the legacy of World War II's African-American heroes

Langston Hughes could not have imagined how prophetic his words would become when he wrote:

"When Dorie Miller took gun in hand/Jim Crow started his last stand…."

Dorie Miller's heroic actions during the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, earned him a Navy Cross, but he was still serving as a cook two years later when he died after his ship was torpedoed. Other African American World War II naval heroes — Charles Jackson French, Leonard Roy Harmon, and William Pinckney — also served as cooks.

These men persevered as they realized that they were fighting a war on two fronts. Like all Americans, they were fighting the Axis, but they were also fighting to...

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