In First To Fight: The Black Tankers of WWII -- a movie from the History Channel -- veterans of the first black tank unit to see combat recall the struggles they faced during WWII. (First to Fight is one of four documentaries in a History Channel set name A Fighting Force: African-American Military Heroes, also available from Amazon.)

  • A probing look at the plight of African-American soldiers during World War II.
  • Includes interviews with veterans of the 761st Tank Battalion.
  • See how the U.S. Military has endeavored to correct its racist past.

The 761st Tank Battalion made history as the first all black tank unit to see combat. Like the better-known Tuskegee Airmen, they proved they were as competent as any soldier in the U.S. military. Over the course of 183 days on the front, the 761st helped liberate more than 30 towns under Nazi control. Collectively they were awarded 11 Silver Stars, 70 Bronze Stars, 250 Purple Hearts, and a Medal of Honor. And more than 30 years after coming home, the 761st was finally recognized with the prestigious Presidential Unit Citation.

Through the stories of a select group of surviving veterans, First to Fight examines the history of the battalion--how they came to be; the racism they faced; their battles to be allowed to fight; and courageous service in the European Theater. The program also examines the larger issue of how the U.S. military has evolved from a segregated to an integrated institution.