PBS WMHT is having a Facebook Watch Party for the “Henry Johnson: A Tale Of Courage.” The 27-minute documentary is on local hero Henry Johnson.

Henry Johnson isn’t just the name of a street and a monument in Albany. Henry Johnson was a black U.S. Army Soldier who fought in the US in World War 1. He was part of the segregated 369th Infantry Regiment. He proudly served in the army even though he was discriminated against.

In May of 1918, Henry Johnson fought off a German raid with hand to hand combat during the fight Henry Johnson killed multiple German Nazi soldiers all while rescuing another soldier while suffering from 21 wound, Henry acquired throughout the battle.

Henry Johnson is a true hero. Unfortunately, Johnson’s heroism went unnoticed.  While other soldiers came back to the United States to be greeted by parades and well wishes. When Johnson came back to the United States he spoke about white supremacy in the United States Military and society.

There were warrants placed for his arrest and he was ostracized from society. Johnson came home to fight Jim Crow laws, lynchings, racism, and America was not ready for that fight. Henry Johnson died in 1929 poor and sick at the young age of 36. He was buried at Arlington National cemetery for decades under the wrong name.

Henry Johnson’s heroism wasn’t recognized until 1996 when he was awarded a Purple Heart decades after he died, poor and in obscurity. In 2002 he finally received the Distinguished Service Cross after several failed attempts to award him posthumously.

I’m glad Henry Johnson is getting his recognition. The film is only 27 minutes but full of great information. This is a great story of heroism from someone right here in the Capital Region.

The documentary first aired in 2017. The Director of the film Zeke Kubisch will be joining the Facebook Watch Party tonight. Party attendees will have a chance to get a deeper perspective from the filmmaker.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions and comment on the film. This is a free event and you can get more info on the WMHT Facebook page.

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